blogging, blogging tips, writing, writing tips

Captivate Your Audience – How to Open and Close a Talk

Are you looking for new ways to spice up your writing and get your readers to really respond to what you say? Do you ever have to give talks, presentations or speeches?

Maybe you make YouTube videos. Here are some ideas for making your talks more memorable and perhaps your writing too.

These tips are designed for people who give presentations or talks, however there is something that can be gained from this advice as far as writing goes as well. After all a speech is a piece of writing that is given verbally.

This video is from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. It discusses ways to get the attention of your audience with a great opening. It also gives some ways in which you can close the talk as exciting and interesting as you opened it. 

I recommend watching the video if you are interested in this topic. The speakers do a good job of communicating this information by using demonstrations of both good and bad openings and closings. But I will give you the main ideas here. 


The three ways they suggest to open a talk are as follows. They also give specific examples of Ted Talks that used each of these. One of the Ted Talks happened by one of my favorite speakers, Kelly McGonigal.

  1. Tell a Story – you should tell a story that will elicit the imagination of the audience and bring out emotions
  2. A Quote – you can begin with a famous recognizable quote or even one of your own quotes
  3. Question – You can ask a question for the audience to consider or you can ask a series of questions that cause the audience to delve deep into their thoughts and more importantly their emotions


This video suggests three ways to close a talk so as not to lose steam from the momentum you created during the talk and so as not to lose the audience at the end. The ending is very important because often it what sticks with the listeners (or your readers) after they leave. 

The ending is so important because this is where you have the opportunity to cause your audience to take action of some kind. This might be a new way of thinking or feeling. It may also be a physical action or to change something about themselves.

  1. Hope for a better future – you can suggest ways that the future can be better based on what you discussed
  2. Sell the benefits – you can remind, repeat, and press the benefits of the product, idea, change you want to create or whatever it is that you want the audience to remember the benefit features of
  3. Call to action – What do you want your audience to do? You may want them to spread awareness, make a life change or buy your product. The closing is a great time to remind them about what you want them to do or think

Here is the video for your enjoyment. Let me know what you thought about it in the comments and if you see any ways that you might be able to incorporate any of these ideas in your writing. Did you notice anything I may have used in this post?

If you enjoyed this video, here is another video from the same YouTube channel. This one is particularly relevant for public speaking. It talks about voice, body language, eye direction and other presenting issues. State management is also important, which is to present a certain mental, emotional state that will transmit to your audience.

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