If there are any two parts of a story that can make or break your entire presentation, it’s the opening and the closing. These crucial parts will almost always determine how well your story will stick in your audience's minds. The story absolutely must stick, or it's a waste of your creativity.
The opening sets the tone for the rest of the story. If you have a boring opening, people will zone out quickly and not pay attention much the rest of the time. If you have a good opening, they’ll be reeled in pretty quickly.
You can create compelling openings in multiple ways, and one of the most common is to open with something surprising or odd sounding that then gets explained and leads into the rest of the story. This gets an audience’s attention quite well.
Getting your audience hooked immediately ensures that they pay attention to your story fully. If they don’t start off being interested, they usually aren’t patient and willing to wait for the story to get good.
The closing is just as important, though for different reasons. Your conclusion in a story should be the big thing that everyone in the audience remembers, and it tends to be what sticks with them the most.
A poor closing can feel awkward, and you’ll also usually leave people scratching their heads, wondering what exactly they were supposed to get out of your story. This doesn’t make for a very impactful story overall.
A great closing, however, can have your audience thinking about your story for the rest of the day. If you can pull this off, you will solidify your message in their minds, and they’ll remember that story repeatedly.
You can’t just have one or the other regarding good openings and closings. If you don’t have both, your whole speech will feel off. These two aspects of storytelling complement each other.
If you only have a good opening, they’re only going to remember that, but chances are the main point of your story isn’t going to be told in the opening. If you only have a good closing, people won’t pay attention because they’ll be bored from the start.
By combining the two and having a solid story through and through, you will have created a story that resonates deeply with your audience and will have succeeded in your efforts to impact them.