In the early 2000s I was working for a company that got acquired. This was the first time this had happened in my career, so I wasn't familiar with the process. The CEO of the company that acquired us was Andrew "Flip" Filipowski. Flip has started, bought and sold many companies and is a really impressive guy, but what he did in our first company meeting with him taught me a lesson.
Flip walked in and greeted the room and the immediately said, "You're all probably wondering how all this effects you personally." He then gave us as much detail as he could about what was going to happen and how we would experience the process.
Flip knew that until we were put at ease with our personal concerns we weren't going to really listen to anything else. It was a great lesson. If there is something that is hanging in the thoughts of the audience, and regardless of what you want to start with on your agenda, try to handle that elephant. If you don't, the room will not be focused on what you want them to think about.
Robert is a speaker coach, actor, director, author, speaker, executive and overall marketing guy. He writes about all aspects of presenting and connecting with audiences.