Three compelling ways to begin your next (data) talk
I keep a list of great first lines in my journal. Here's a few:
STEVE JOBS: "Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along. First of all, you’re fortunate if you get to work on one of these in your lifetime." https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=x7qPAY9JqE4
SETH GODIN: "We’ll start with the good news: there’s no golf in Utah. That’s good because it’s the worst spectator sport."https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJU3mBb8lLw
ANNE LAMOTT: My seven-year-old grandson sleeps just down the hall from me, and he wakes up a lot of mornings and he says, "You know, this could be the best day ever." And other times, in the middle of the night, he calls out in a tremulous voice, "Nana, will you ever get sick and die?"
ELIZABETH GILBERT: I am a writer. Writing books is my profession but it's more than that, of course. It is also my great lifelong love and fascination. And I don't expect that that's ever going to change. But, that said, something kind of peculiar has happened recently in my life and in my career, which has caused me to have to recalibrate my whole relationship with this work.
CARMEN SIMON: A few years ago I started using a scientific neuroscience and business approach to a question I consider to be very sobering. How much do people remember about your presentations. I have been noticing two trends: too much information and a lot of content is the same...
Great post, Evelina! Love the examples from so many difference spheres :)
I'd add a particularly interesting example: Shirley Wu's keynote at EYEO 2022 doesn't open directly into a story or prop, but rather she sets the tone of how vulnerable of a space she's going to create. But she then delays introductions in an interesting way, too: she dives straight into her childhood, and only AFTER that gives your professional overview. I feel like that uses the thoughts from this piece in several ways.
Lately I've been also thinking about this in the frame of cognitive vs embodied understanding. I think our bodies (our feelings etc) are way more computationally powerful than our rational mind. When we open with something vivid in a presentation, we engage all those intelligences. It sets the context for the cognitive work to happen on top of a more embodied connection.
In the Western/Mechanistic paradigm, we don't like talking about "touchy-feeling" things like how we feel in our body, but posts like this remind me how crucial it actually is! :)
Very guilty of the boring introduction 🙊. Thanks for the lessons.