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An explanation of why just 2 seconds forms an impression of you

 In Message creation

Calendar with notice kick off

Imagine this situation.

It’s two weeks until your company’s kick-off meeting. Your boss asks you to open the kick-off meeting, or asks you to lead a break-out session, or wants you to moderate a panel discussion.

Do you have an array of options to choose from, for opening and hooking your audience to listen to your presentation, break-out or panel session?

As February is a month when many organisations in Australia have their kick-off meetings – this month we’ll explore openings; to presentations, meetings, 1:1 interactions, chance encounters etc.

If you want to hook people to listen to you – the opening is critical.

Unfortunately, many presenters, facilitators and moderators don’t give much thought to how they’ll open their event. Which often results – in losing the attention of an audience – within the first 60 seconds of their opening.

How you open, will also determine how an audience perceives you, over the longer term.

Nalini Ambady, Harvard University professor, conducted a study where she found that students watching a silent video clip of a lecturer –

needed just 2 seconds to form lasting impressions of the lecturer.

Consider how well you’re preparing for, and delivering the first seconds of your presentations.

Here’s a humorous six minute video clip about how Not to open a presentation (and an alternative opening focusing on values* versus focusing on data). It might interest you.


Own the Conversation

for the next seven days:

  1. Consider how you open interactions, meetings and presentations – and rate yourself on how well you did. You might use a 1-7 scale (#1 lowest, #7 top performance).
  2. Instruct your mind to zero in on how other people open up interactions, meetings, presentations etc. and how well they did. Your self-talk could be ‘I intend to notice how people open’. (This instruction to your mind is based on the function of the Reticular Activating System).

* I agree with the presenter’s idea of opening with values and with the larger positive impact that people in the organisation are making.

However, I suggest you don’t aim for how the presenter delivered the content. That is, a delivery that was rote with a rapid cadence. There is a danger of talking about large, important matters, being perceived negatively when you haven’t taken the time to internalise and feel the impact of those matters.

This delivery can turn off people from listening, as they may view your words as processed and cheesy.

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