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Opening Keynote

Saturday, June 20, 2015

For a Better Presentation - Opening Keynote

Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE offers vital tips for being more effective as a speaker by drawing upon lessons from the movie industry:

The opening is key. In David Freeman's screen writing seminar, he specifies 16 ways to make the first three pages of a script "kick ass."  If these initial pages don't kick ass, producers don't read the rest of the script, they don't buy it, and they don't make your movie.

Start with a flavor scene. Good movies often open with a short clip, or flavor scene, designed to grab attention and position the audience for what is to come.  Think of the first 30 seconds of your speech as having importance equivalent to the first three pages of a movie script. Your flavor scene doesn't necessarily have to lead where the audience expects, but it should make an impact that ties into what follows.

Use scene changes

Early in a movie the hero commits to some course of action.  Rocky Balboa agrees to the heavy weight title fight. The sooner this happens, the sooner the audience gets emotionally involved. Get your audience interested in you in a similar way. The biggest enemy of a speaker, no matter how good, is "sameness" or lack of variety.

Statistics aren't sexy. Numbers are numbing. The material must compel the audience.

Why do you sometimes like a killer in the movies? Because Hollywood builds in the likeability factor, so that the audience ends up pulling for the villain despite that person’s flaws. If Hollywood film-makers can make audiences root for vicious murderers, then certainly the techniques they use can also win audiences over to your side. Build likeability into your characters when you are telling a story on stage. Identify the values, needs, and wants of your audience. Then, tell them about the characters who share these qualities.

When movies provide a compelling story and finish up with a heart-tugging or eye opening conclusion, they become unforgettable Oscar winners. The funniest or most exhilarating story will be pointless if you don't tie it into your theme and provide a lesson learned. When Ingrid Berman leaves Humphrey Bogart and gets on the plane to Casablanca it tells the audience that in wartime honor comes before love. The characters in great movies struggle against huge odds, demonstrating to audiences that it is better to lose then never try at all.

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