The opening of your talk. One of the best things you can do in the opening of your talk is to make your audience care. Now, how do we do that?
Well, what you can think about is what matters to you. How can you bring them into your world, bring them into this subject, bring them into this idea that you're talking about?
This is where you can start off with something intriguing or something shocking like a statistic that they have never heard before or an insight that they really have to lean forward to want to hear what's coming next. You want to start off your talk so strong that your audience just can't help but want to listen to hear what's the next line, and the next line, and the next line.
I don't recommend starting off with a question here. A lot of speakers that I work with want to start off with a question. How many of you feel ... ?
You know, it's better to save your questions to the middle or the end of talk because at the beginning, the audience doesn't trust you quite yet. They are a little bit skeptical. Who are you? What are you here to talk about? Why should I listen to you? They're asking themselves these questions in their heads. Are you really going to offer me something that is of value to my life? This is what the audience is thinking. If you ask a question right off the bat they may or may not participate in that. I would save the questions for later. If you're doing a TED or TEDx Talk, you may not want to have questions at all. You may want to just deliver your information.
But that opening of your talk is everything. If you're using story to open your talk, which can be very effective, you want to take them right into a scene. If you're using a statistic hit them with that statistic with confidence and conviction so that they sit up and they listen to what you want to say. Then you will have them engaged for the rest of your talk.