13Beginnings and Endings

The Leader's Script begins and ends with the audience. Start by engaging your listeners with a grabber so they'll want to listen to what you have to say and conclude with a call to action that asks them to act on what you have said. In between, you'll want to deliver a message that has the power to persuade them. If you are successful in all this, each conversation will be an act of leadership.

Open with a Grabber

“You had me at hello,” from the movie Jerry Maguire, sums up the engagement you want from your audience at the outset. Whether you're speaking to a roomful of colleagues, your boss, or a group of friends, draw them in with your first words. If you speak without reaching out to them and engaging them, it's likely nobody will listen to you. That's particularly true for impromptu speaking, because in the helter‐skelter environment of today's world—where you're competing for people's attention with smartphones, emails, and interruptions of all kinds—it's impossible to “hold the room” or even hold the attention of one person, unless you acknowledge them.

The grabber can bridge to your audience in various ways. You can call them by name, mention something about them, refer to a point they've brought up or a conversation you've had with them, ask them about themselves, or bring up something of interest to them. The point of the grabber is to create rapport. Your grabber will not only vary with the individuals you are speaking to, but it will ...

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