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Leadership Communication #18: Begin and End Strong

Perfect the start and finish of your message in Lesson #18 on iTunes.

What is the hidden lever in effective leadership communication? It's the beginning and end of any presentation or meeting. The way you open and close isn't a minor detail—it determines the fate of your message. Master these bookends to take your communication from "meh" to memorable.

Opening with Precision

Imagine stepping onto a stage or into a meeting room. The first words you speak, the first actions you take—these are your audience's introduction not just to your presentation, but to your command of the subject and the session. Cover the “Ps” for a swift, impactful first impression.

  • Profile: Identify and introduce your participants. This isn’t just about names; it’s about establishing a connection.

  • Praise: A little acknowledgment can go a long way. By celebrating past contributions, you not only foster goodwill but also engage your audience’s attention and respect.

  • Purpose: What is this gathering for? Defining this clearly cuts through ambiguity and aligns everyone’s focus.

  • Payoff: Everyone wants to know, “What’s in it for me?” Articulating this upfront motivates and orients your audience.

  • Preview: Give a roadmap of what’s to come. It’s like the table of contents of a book—it prepares the mind for what’s to unfold.

  • Process: Set expectations on how the session will progress. This helps manage interactions and maintain control of the session’s flow.

For those looking to truly captivate right from the start, consider opening with a method that flips expectations. Begin with the end, share a personal anecdote, or pose a provocative question. These methods aren’t just tactics. They are invitations to think differently, encouraging your audience to lean in rather than settle back.

Closing with Impact

As for the close, it’s your moment to ensure that your message doesn’t just dissipate into thin air but instead resonates and incites action. Here are some strategies:

  • Call to Action: This is about movement. What do you want your audience to do next? Direct them clearly.

  • Summarize Key Points: Like the closing chapter of a novel, bring your narrative to a point of irrefutable clarity.

  • Employ a Story or Metaphor: Humans are narrative creatures. A well-chosen story or metaphor can encapsulate your message in a way that facts alone cannot.

  • Project into the Future: Give your audience a glimpse of the horizon. What does the future hold if they follow your lead?

  • Present Contrasts: Sometimes, showing what could be against what is can be a powerful motivator.

  • Appeal to Positivity: End on a high note. Inspire your audience by highlighting positive outcomes and beneficial impacts.

  • Loop Back: Bring your presentation full circle by tying your conclusion back to your opening. It’s a satisfying way to give your message symmetry and reinforcement.

Employing these leadership communication tactics can dramatically shift the effectiveness of your communications. Listen to our podcast for a deeper dive into how you can not only capture but hold the attention of your audience from start to finish, turning every presentation into an opportunity for impact.


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