A strong opening engages the audience and leaves them wanting more. Using a prop helps to quickly focus your audience. One well known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20 bill.
The speaker asked, "Who would like this money?" Hands went up all over the room. After promising to give the money to someone in the room, he crumpled up the bill. Then he asked if anyone still wanted it. The same hands went up.
He replied, "What if I do this?" and dropped the bill on the floor and ground it with his shoe. He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty, and asked who still wanted it. The same hands went up again.
"My friends," he said, "you have all learned a valuable lesson. No matter what I did to this money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20."
He was now beautifully positioned to state his key message: "Many times in our lives," he said, "we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make or the circumstances that come our way. We might feel that we are worthless, but no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value."