Put Your Gold Up Front

In Business Networking Groups, Business Presentations, Fund raising, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, Uncategorized, web video on September 29, 2011 at 10:38 AM






The speaker at the lectern let go with a gem of a statement. I nudged the person next to me and said “that was brilliant”.  My companion looked up from his smart phone and said “Huh? I did not hear it, I must have been distracted.”

The fault was not with my companion. The speaker had spent so much time droning on with boring details that most people in the room had checked out. By the time he got to his golden statement, few people were paying attention to hear it. (If you know me, you might think it is amazing I caught this insightful statement). As I looked around the room, I noticed that most people were distracted with their phones, shuffling papers, or just looking out the windows. By the time the speaker said something worth hearing, few were listening.

If he had started his talk with his golden words everyone would have heard them. Not only that, it is more likely they would have paid attention to the rest of his comments. At the beginning of his talk, 100% of the audience was focusing 100% of their attention on him. Rather than capitalizing on this opportunity, he lost his advantage by going over dry details that were of low value and, perhaps, did not need to be said at all.

Everyone pays attention at the beginning of your talk – use this opportunity to share your golden thoughts and grab their attention.

In case you wondering, there is “gold” in the middle of the first paragraph.  If you are like most people though, you missed it. Just like the speaker in the story above, the gold is buried too far to be noticed. Look at the paragraph below and notice how much easier it is to find the gold.






  1. Ethan, this made a great blog post too 🙂 The blah at the beginning really caught my attention and makes your point very strongly. Probably the next step for the speaker is to link to the rest of the presentation and say – more gold to follow….

    Something like gold..blah……blah..blah.. 🙂

    Great post !

    • Thank you Arte. I always appreciate feedback, especially when it comes from some one I respect as I do you.

      Or perhaps the next step is for the speaker to remove the blah completely.

      At the end of my 6 1/2 hour workshop yesterday (on a Saturday), many of the participants approached me (25%?) and commented on how much they appreciated the energy, enthusiasm, and varied approaches taken during the day. At 4:00 in the afternoon, they were still with us and ready to learn more.

      I was exhausted – it is difficult to keep ahead of the group for that long, it took hours of painstaking planning and revisions to the agenda, and it took some risk taking. It was worth it though as we managed to eliminate most of the blah and present 6.5 hours of GOLD – or at least that is what many of audience members reported.

      Good speaking rarely happens by chance….

  2. How about some examples of other “Golden Statements?” 🙂

    • How about these as good examples of opening lines:

      “Good marketing is good storytelling. Each time you communicate with customers, you have an opportunity to engage them in your story. But your narrative must be credible, engaging, and well-written”
      “What if I told you the most successful brand stories correspond with common genres in fiction?”

      Admittedly, they both target a very specific audience. They both can and will work in the right situation.

      Each talk needs to start with a hook – something that grabs the attention of the audience. Good hooks can include a story, provocative statement, a promise, a joke, or a question. It needs to be something that will cause people to listen to you and lead into your main point. Just as writer must start her articles and books with something that grabs the reader, a speaker must do the same.

      For those of you other than Lee, both of those lines are from Lee’s blog – she is a published writer (her first book is available for you to purchase on Amazon). Lee is an author and helps businesses write copy – her opening lines work well for her clients.

      Stay tuned to the blog – I will write an article on good opening lines and I will post a list of great opening lines. In the meantime, read this post:

  3. […] Put Your Gold Up Front ( […]

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