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CABA can answer the WAILs of your Audience

“The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public.” - George Jessel

Tomorrow is the big presentation in front of your boss. You just put the final touches on some magnificent PowerPoint slides and now it’s time to think about how you will open your presentation. You know that delivering the opening is one of the most crucial and memorable factors of a presentation. You know your opening will set the tone for your presentation. You know you want to open your presentation with style and confidence, giving your boss a great first impression. But, you just don’t know where to start.

Aristotle faced a similar situation over 2,300 years ago. He was tasked with speaking at the coliseum in front of hundreds of people, including Socrates and Plato. He knew that his mentors would WAIL (Why Am I Listening?) and he needed to answer that question early in his presentation. Aristotle had written that a speaker’s character, credibility, competence, integrity, likeableness, and forcefulness directly attributed to the success of public speaking. Aristotle began his presentation by startling his audience with a fascinating fact. He then outlined what he was going to tell them in his speech. He continued by telling about a book he wrote called Rhetoric and his research regarding communication. He connected to the audience by explaining that he grew up in Athens and understood what it meant to live in Greece. He closed his introduction with a preview of the three main points of his presentation. His presentation was a huge success.

Using Aristotle as a model, you can use his proven method to open your presentation and start with your best foot forward. When you apply the iSpeak CABA method to your presentation opening, you can have the same success as Aristotle, so many years ago.

You need to answer the question “Why Am I Listening?” (WAIL) within the first 5-10% of your allotted presentation time. For example, a 30-minute presentation should have an introduction that lasts between 2-3 minutes. Within this time, you need to communicate to your audience the four objectives outlined in the acronym CABA – Credibility, Attention, Body and Audience.

  • Credibility: Establish your credibility and good will. Example: “I have led our customer experience initiative for the past 9 months, interviewing customers to understand their perception of our organization.”
  • Attention: Get the attention and interest of your audience. You can do this by making a startling statement, arousing curiosity, posing a question, or telling a story. Example: “The average worker admits to frittering away 2.09 hours per 8-hour workday. The biggest distraction for respondents was the Internet.”
  • Body: Preview the body and topic of the speech. Let the audience know what you will be discussing. Example: “Today I am going to discuss our products with a specific focus on the reasons why you should select our company as your vendor of choice.”
  • Audience: Connect with the audience and show you care enough to learn more about them before you speak. Example: “I understand the frustration you are feeling, as I felt the same way when I first heard we were making the switch to a new online business management software.”

We have all seen someone speak that didn’t deliver an organized introduction – if any introduction was given at all. We see speakers endlessly brag about themselves, talk in circles about their topics of choice, but we rarely see someone with a structured introduction. I recently attended a keynote presentation given by the author of a sales book. His introduction was a great example of using the CABA technique.

Did you know Sales is the second largest occupation in America? The only occupation with more people is office and administrative support personnel. Show of hands, how many people are in sales today? Let’s face it, we are all in sales. Any time you apply for a job, service an existing customer or persuade a new customer to move a project closer to completion, you are selling.

My name is Russ Peterson and I’ve been professionally selling for over 20 years. Few other occupations give you the immediate and direct feedback on how well you’re doing. While there may be barriers in all types of jobs, not overcoming barriers in sales can lead to you looking for a new logo for your business card. Today we’re going to talk about eliminating those barriers that prevent you from succeeding. These internal barriers can be referred to as CRAP - Catastrophizing, Rationalizing, Agonizing and Procrastinating.

The introduction is your only chance to make a first impression. You only have seconds to establish yourself in front of the audience, so it is crucial to consider the image you project to others. So give yourself an advantage and use the iSpeak CABA technique for that big presentation tomorrow with your boss. And like Aristotle, you will start your presentation off on positive note and give your boss a favorable impression about you and your message.

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