Presentation skills training

Home

NLP & Presenting

Products

Opening With A 'Fascinating Fact' (3)

Logos of Whole-Brain Presenting customers

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Email Newsletter

FREE weekly newsletter with presentation tips, humor, quotes & anecdotes you can use in your very next speech or presentation. Simply place your email address in the box on the left and press 'GO'.

One of the best ways to open a presentation and really grab an audience's attention (for 7 great ways to open, see How To Grab 'Em By The Throat) is to pique their interest with a 'fascinating fact' (see Opening With A Startling Statistic Or Fascinating Fact). I already have one article giving examples of how to do this (see More Fascinating Facts You Can Use To Open A Presentation) if your objective is to get people to look at things differently and reject the 'conventional' way of doing something.

Here are some more ........

5. Who was the first man to put two feet on the top of Mount Everest?

I want to start by asking you a question, which is, 'Who was the first man to put two feet on the top of Mount Everest?' On the screen you'll see four possible answers. It could be a) Sherpa Tenzing b) Sir Edmund Hillary c) Radhanath Sikdar or d) the Dalai Lama . Can I just see, with a show of hands, how many people think it's A? Ok ...... B? C? And who thinks it's the Dalai Lama?

It seems the overwhelming favorite is B: Sir Edmund Hilary.

It might surprise you to know that the correct answer is C: Radhanath Sikdar.

Sir Edmund Hilary was the first man to climb Mt. Everest, but Sikdar was the first to put two feet on the top of it.

In 1852 Everest was measured for the first time using trigonometric calculations based on observations from several surrounding peaks. It was determined that it's height was exactly 29,000 feet. The problem was, that number was just too exact. Nobody would believe it. They'd think it was a rounded up figure. So Sikdar added two mythical feet onto it, making it's official height 29,002 feet.

Interesting? Yes ... but what is it's relevance, you might ask.Well, I use it to demonstrate the importance of listening. No doubt you all assumed I said, "Who was the first man to climb Mount Everest?" But I didn't. I asked, "Who was the first man to put two feet on the top of Mount Everest?"

Very often we convince ourselves we know what the other person means, without really listening to what they're actually saying.

And I think we've been guilty of that with our customers. They've often said 'We want faster delivery' to us, and in our arrogance, we've interpreted that as meaning 'Faster delivery would be nice, if you could do it. But it's not a deal-breaker.' But it didn't. It actually meant 'You're slow.'

And we only realized this when competitor X launched their new product Y with a delivery lead time about half of ours .......

6. How many legs does an octopus have?

I want to start by asking you a question, which is, 'How many legs does an octopus have?' On the screen you'll see four possible answers. It could be a) 2 b) 6 c) 8 or d) 9 . Can I just see, with a show of hands, how many people think it's A? Ok ...... B? C? And who thinks it's 9?

It seems the overwhelming favorite is C: 8. Perhaps you thought the 'octo' in the word 'octopus' gave the game away?

Actually, the correct answer is A: 2.

Although an octopus has 8 tentacles, it only has 2 legs. If you look at film of an octopus scurrying across the ocean floor, you'll see that it only uses 2 of them for movement. The other 6 are arms, and are used to hold things, such as its prey.

Why do I tell you this? It's to make a serious point. Sometimes everyone thinks they know something. They're sure they have the answer. They're convinced they're right ....... But they're wrong.

In this company we've always been convinced that we deliver the best customer service in our industry. It was a fact. Rock solid. Indisputable. Well, the results of the latest customer survey have just come out.

And we're wrong ...........

7. What color is a polar bear's skin?

I want to start by asking you a question, which is, 'What color is a polar bear's skin?' On the screen you'll see four possible answers. It could be a) cream b) black c) white or d) gray . Can I just see, with a show of hands, how many people think it's A? Ok ...... B? C? And who thinks it's gray?

It seems the overwhelming favorite is C: white.

Well those of you who said B should pat yourselves on the back because the correct answer is black.

I asked you what color a polar bear's skin is, not its fur. Its fur is white, but its skin is black.

A trick question? Perhaps ... but what is it's relevance, you might ask. Well, I use it to demonstrate the importance of listening.

Very often we convince ourselves we know what the other person means, without really listening to what they're actually saying.

And I think we've been guilty of that with our customers. They've often said 'We want faster delivery' to us, and in our arrogance, we've interpreted that as meaning 'Faster delivery would be nice, if you could do it,' i.e. But it didn't. It actually meant 'You're slow.'

And we only realized this when competitor X launched their new product Y with a delivery lead time about half of ours .......

8. Where does the term 'the whole nine yards' come from?

I want to start by asking you a question, which is, 'Where does the term 'the whole nine yards' come from?' On the screen you'll see four possible answers. It could be a) (American) football b) WWII pilots or c) cloth manufacturing. Can I just see, with a show of hands, how many people think it's A? Ok ...... B? And who thinks it's cloth manufacturing

It seems the overwhelming favorite is A: (American) football.

That sounds logical doesn't it? It will probably surprise you to know that the the correct answer is B: WWII pilots.

When WWII pilots were arming their airplanes on the ground, the .50 caliber machine gun ammo belts measured exactly 27 feet, before being loaded onto the aircraft. If the pilots fired all their ammo at a target, they said it got "the whole 9 yards."

An interesting piece of trivia? Perhaps - but why raise it?

I raise it because sometimes we think we know how something originated, but we're wrong. We tend to look at policies and processes and procedures and assume they exist for a very good reason. And very often, that's not the case. Very often, they exist purely because .... 'we've always done it like that' or 'that's just the way we do things around here.'

And that's why I want to announce a thorough, company-wide review of all of our processes to identify their relevance to our customers' requirements .......

See a full list of articles  

Why not get my tips and techniques 'straight from the horse's mouth' and attend a seminar in your area? Click here to find out more about the seminar content: 2-day seminar content

2-day courses:
December
London 4/5 Manchester 7/8      
  January Manchester 15/15 Birmingham 18/18 London 22/23    
Paypal acceotance logo

My Whole-Brain Presenting book has just been revised and updated. It now includes all the material and content from my Body Language e-book, so you get TWO great books for the price of ONE! This is no wide-margined, big-fonted, double-spaced pamphlet masquerading as a book. It's a serious work - 386 pages and 85,000 words, all for the original price of £9.95 ($13.50).

Copyright Speak Like A Pro 2017