Do you want to avoid being boring? The problem is that most presentations are boring. Go on, admit it, you know they are. They're boring. Seriously.
And if you have to give presentations regularly, you really don't want to be boring. And maybe secretly you think you are. No one wants to be boring. It's mortifying. All those people sitting there wishing you would get on with it. Boring is a sin. But you're in luck. There's ONE simple tool that will help you to make your presentations much more engaging. It's called Opening and Closing Loops.
No, I don't mean those cute little recorded sound loops like jingles or those things I play at the beginning and the end of my podcast.
An Open Loop is a psychological trick that's often used by the sales and marketing industry. It started off life in the NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) communities as a method of 'manipulating' (persuading?) people. But what is it exactly? And now it's used in advertising and marketing all over the world to get people's attention.
An Open Loop is when we begin something, we introduce a concept or an idea - but we don't give the audience much information, not enough to satisfy them. It Opens a Loop in their mind which desires to be closed.
Why Does This Work? Because human beings are irritated on a mental level by an open loop. The Russian psychologist Zeigarnik discovered something fascinating about interrupted tasks by observing waiters...
Zeigarnik, Russian Psychologist.
- - - actually, I'll get back to that story in a minute...
it's because our brains seek closure.
On my Unshakesable Speaker programme at the Speak Fearless Academy, I teach exactly how to create a nested set of opened and closed loops to keep your listeners unable to stop listening to you.
Anyway - our brains are wired to complete tasks, answer questions, and the absence of this closure stimulates a part of us that needs that closure - especially when we receive a little drop of endorphin when we finally have that loop closed.
If you can Open and Close loops throughout your presentation, you will maintain the audience's attention throughout. It's simple, you open and loop and just before you close it, you open a new loop, creating a new psychological desire to close this new loop. You then close the original one leaving the new one open.
Here's one example:
I opened a loop when you read the title of this blog. You wanted to know what this powerful public speaking tip would be that would stop you boring your audience. I closed that loop when I told you that it was called Opening and Closing Loops, but because I didn't explain what it was straight away, it opened a whole new loop.
While explaining what Opening and Closing loops is, I started telling you about how fascinating the work of the Russian psychologist Zeigarnik. I got you interested and then left that topic.
In fact, that Loop is still open now. And now I'm about to close it for you.
Zeigarnik, she was a Russian psychologist who realised that waiters remember orders better when they are interrupted. She realised that opening a loop - someone telling an order created a tension in the mind of the waiter, compelling them to finish it and making it much more memorable because it’s aching to be completed. So not only does opening a loop compel the person to close it, but it's also more memorable.
The best speakers understand how to use opening and closing loops to keep people hooked for the entire presentation. And they do that by creating loops within loops within loops - can they really have that much power over someone’s attention? - let’s leave that for another time. (Open Loop...)
Think about how you can open a loop at the beginning of your talk.
When will you close the loop? If you close it early, they'll lose interest.
If you don't close it, they'll be unsatisfied.
And if you open and close a series of loops, they'll be fascinated by what you're saying throughout.
Want to learn how to do that - on my Unshakeable Speaker programme at the Speak Fearless Academy, I'll teach you exactly how to create a nested set of opened and closed loops to keep your listeners unable to stop listening to you.
Get in touch and I'll help you never bore your audience to sleep again!
Owner and Coach at The Speakfearless Academy