Your Opening … !

With just a couple of extra minutes to spare in the airport last week, I ran into the bookstore to see if I could find Frank Luntz’s new book on communicating. Frank Luntz is the author of Words that Work and is perhaps most famous for his contributions to conservative political jargon … terms like “energy exploration” vs “oil drilling” and “death tax” vs “estate tax” and “climate change” vs “global warming” are his creations. Putting politics aside (and perhaps behind him?), his new book focuses on how business people should communicate in order to WIN, also the name of the book. I grabbed it.

As I began reading, I came to discover that many of our philosophies about good communications are similar, but one caught my eye in particular, because it’s a drum I beat very often. And if you’re a client or a participant in one of my workshops, you have heard me say this quite recently …

Luntz says, “Your first words are more important than your last. You only get one shot to make a good impression, and what you say first colors everything that follows. It doesn’t only color it, but depending on how you frame the context, the initial impression you make will either cast a shadow over your purpose or provide a foundation under it.”

Set the tone and the context, condition expectations and emotions, use your first seconds wisely. It may be both the first and last moments that you capture your audience’s attention!

Beth Levine