This image was taken at my brother's wedding last year. It was that time of the day, when the sun shines the most gorgeous light and wedding photographers run around taking their best snaps. On this image, you can see a group of guests enjoying the beginning of a relaxing evening that will combine good company, loud music and delicious food.
But where was I? It was my brother's wedding after all. Well, I was certainly not amongst this fun group. The wedding started on the wrong foot for my husband and me. With our two small kids ( "Did you take the nappies? The snacks? An extra pair of clothes?) and the craziness that it all entails, we arrived late to the ceremony. Then we also arrived late to the party. Needless to say, when things don't start well, it’s kind of hard to get back on track. I loved the wedding, and I managed to dance and smile a little bit, but it would have been so much better if we started it off well.
When you speak in public, things can get hectic as well. You might be late. You might be unprepared. Or you might be on time and sort of prepared, but then your nerves are giving you very bad vibes. You might start talking and then kind of blank out. You might even say exactly what you planned to say, only to realise that your audience is already on their computers or phones. What happened to their attention spans? And who is to blame?
One thing every speaker knows is that introductions are important. But I don't think most speakers really understand just how important introductions are. Everything is at stake in that first moment when the audience lays their eyes and ears on you. Their primitive brain is trying to figure out what to do with you. Should they listen to you a bit? Or ignore you? And within you, there is a war between your body that is sending signals to your brain that you are in danger ( Run! Fight! Freeze!) and your mind that is trying to tell the body to just let it go.
So, how do you find peace? How do you start well?
One way to find out is to come to our next course. It's already in June. The light will be just as perfect as in the photo. You will learn, in 5 hours, exactly how to create that perfect introduction, where you can be calm, open, confident and know what to say to get people's attention.
Because, when you start well, you can enjoy the whole talk much more. And no, in public speaking at least, all is not well that ends well. All is well that starts well.