Tag Archive for: Forbes

James Bond needs no introduction, but you do!

I read an article not too long ago that a friend
passed along and felt compelled to share my thoughts about it. The article
appeared in Forbes.com and was titled “Why Public Speakers Need To Copy
James Bond
.” That’s a compelling title for Bond fans and speakers alike – of
which I’m both – so I got sucked in and read. The author’s piece was well
written and compelling…unless you know something about the psychology of
The gist of the article was this – Bond movies
open with compelling action-packed scenes, not the credits, to immediately hook
moviegoers.  Speakers should do the same
by starting immediately with a compelling story.
I wholeheartedly agree that a speaker starting
with a good story hooks the audience but foregoing a brief introduction misses
out on a golden opportunity to utilize the principle of authority which will make you
more persuasive, according to the science of influence.
Imagine going to a conference and getting
ready to listen to a speaker you’ve never heard of before. Will you pay more or
less attention if you quickly learn beforehand the speaker was the top
salesperson in their organization, or had a doctorate, or was one of only a
handful in the world who does what he/she does, or had some other fact that
established him or her as an expert? I’m willing to bet you’ll be more
interested to listen after learning something compelling about the speaker.
Several years ago, Joshua Bell, one of the
most accomplished violinists in the world, was playing a million dollar Stradivarius
violin in a public subway. Despite the fact that people pay several hundred
dollars to hear him in concert, hardly anyone paid attention that particular day
in the subway. His beautiful music was the equivalent of a compelling story but
it wasn’t enough to grab people’s attention. Do you think people would have
stopped to listen if they knew he was one of the greatest violinists in the
world and that he was playing a million dollar instrument? I’d bet you any
amount of money that many, many more people would have paid attention to him
and his music.
James Bond enjoys a brand very few individuals
can claim. Warren Buffett, Bill Clinton and a few others would need no
introduction before giving a speech, but you and I do, so here are six tips for
your intro when presenting to a group of any size:
  1. You write the introduction. Don’t leave
    this to chance because nobody knows you and your expertise like you do.
  2. Keep it short. An intro of 100-200 words is plenty because too long and
    it’s boring, but too short and you may omit something important.
  3. Make sure it’s audience-appropriate. There may
    be interesting things you’ve accomplished that have nothing to do with the talk
    so leave out those things.
  4. Include something personal. This allows
    audience members to connect with you on a personal level which invokes the principle of liking.
  5. Have a third party introduce you. You do this
    because someone else can say things about you that will sound like bragging if
    you say them.
  6. Make sure the introduction happens before the
    talk. Unlike the movies where the credits come later, you want people to feel compelled
    to listen before you even open your mouth.

Talking about Bond as a model for speaking makes
for a compelling headline but not everything he does will work for you and me.
That’s the difference between movies and reality. So my advice is this; find
out what the science says then diligently apply it and you’re sure to give a more
persuasive presentation.

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®
Chief Influence Officer


Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.As noted last week; Dr. Cialdini has a new book coming out that he’s coauthored with Steve Martin and Noah Goldstein, Ph.D. The book is called The Small Big and can be pre-ordered here.