Last Saturday I went to The Berliner Philharmonie with my family. Gustavo Dudamel and The Berliner Philharmoniker played one of my favourite Symphonies. Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 “From The New World.”
Before they started, the conductor said:
“Umm, can you hear me? Good evening ladies and gentlemen thank you for having me here, it is an honour. My name is Gustavo Dudamel a Venezuelan conductor and violinist. I am the music director of the Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. I want to thank you all for the great organisation and the opportunity of sharing a little bit of our work. Today we are going to play a little bit of Dvořák in the first part and in the second part, we will play a little bit of Mozart. I hope you enjoy it! We didn’t have had much time to prepare and our concertmaster didn’t arrive yet. But we will start anyway because we don’t have much time. Are you ready? Are the mics working? Can you hear us? Ok, 1, 2, 3…”
Can you imagine that? No, you can’t because such a thing never happens! And this time was no exception! You may be laughing or thinking it was a little bit exaggerated. But, the truth is that you have heard similar introductions. Haven’t you? If not, wait you will!
What do most speakers do when they start a presentation? They present themselves, welcome people, check the mic…
In other words, they invite people to bore and to start checking their phones. They miss the opportunity to make a great first impression. Do you want that as a speaker?
Or you want to grab everybody’s attention since you enter the room until the very last note? Exactly like a music conductor does it!
What do listeners want from you? Why are they there? They are not there for you! They came for the music!
Make your listeners a favour! Start with a Grand opening, build up your symphony and finish with a Grand Finale!
There are many ways to start a speech. Here is the best demonstration I know! You can start with a quotation, a polemic phrase, one word, a question, a shocking fact, a story…
If they like you, they will google you! They have your name. From the screen, the program, the invitations, the agenda, the moderator, etc.
Next time you give a presentation do a favour to your audience. Do it like a conductor at The Berliner Philharmonie would do it.
Speak your Symphony!
“The conductor doesn’t make a sound. He depends, for his power, on his ability to make other people powerful.” – Benjamin Zander