The versatile ‘Consider this, what if . . .’ opening hook explained

 In Message creation

Consider this – what if you could have a versatile opening phrase that you could plug into any speaking interaction or presentation to ‘hook’ people to listen to you? The ‘Consider this – what if?’ opening is one such phrase.  You can use the phrase in a chance encounter to pitch an idea to a colleague. For example, “Melinda, got a moment . . . (if she does, you say)  “Consider this – what if we could give our technical team a simple approach to get more intelligence for us when they’re on-site?”

You can also use the ‘Consider this – what if?’ hook to open a formal meeting or sales presentation. Here’s a way I use the phrase in one of my presentations:  *”Consider this – what if, in any interaction or presentation, you and your team were perceived as very articulate, extremely competent and genuinely interested in the other person. . . think about that for a moment, how would you feel about that, what would that mean to you?”

When you use the phrase pause after the completion of your question, to give the person/audience time to consider what you’ve said. The idea of this hook is to paint a positive picture, a better future in the person/audience’s mind, or to open up the person’s mind to a different angle of vision. In the formal presentation format make the picture/future, one, that everyone in the audience would positively respond to.

After you ‘paint the picture’ you can qualify what you have just said. After I’ve opened with the hook above* I say the following statement. “Now I’m not suggesting I’m going to bring you to that point in this presentation. My goal is to bring you a piece along the way, to creating those perceptions”.

A caveat with this hook is that you don’t want to over-use it. If you do, like other over-used techniques and language, it can become staid and counter-productive.

The ‘how to apply’ for this post is: in the next week use the ‘Consider this – what if?’ hook at least once in an interaction or presentation.

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  • Joseph Edwin

    I can personally attest to how effect this mechanism is. I now use it in most of my presentations to large audiences

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