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Lesson 8. Create Successful Presentation... > Transition the Talk with Summaries - Pg. 35

Create Successful Presentations 35 Opening Four: Tell a Story Nothing is more powerful than beginning a presentation with a story that illustrates your central message. Former President Ronald Reagan was a wonderful storyteller--one of the skills that made his speeches so effective. You can draw on a story from your own personal experience, from something you've read, or from the experiences of other people. Caution Don't be long-winded. If you plan to open your talk with a story, make it short. There's nothing worse than an anecdote that goes on and on and never seems to get to the point. The audience grows impatient and stops listening. One of the best presentations I ever heard was delivered by a clergyman who told the story of a governor in one of the Southern states. The governor had been an orphan as a boy, and been ridiculed by children who had parents, but he worked hard, put himself through college, and even- tually rose to the highest office in the state. As the governor often told other people: "I knew I was a child of God and I could do anything." This was the minister's central message. Opening Five: Artful Humor Speakers often wonder whether they should use a joke to open a presentation. The answer is: It depends--on several factors: · How skillful are you at telling jokes? --Some speakers forget the punch line or mix it up with the beginning of the joke, and it falls flat. · How well do you know your audience? --If you're going to use a joke, you must be sure that