The Law of Primacy holds that what you present first will create a solid and lasting impression on listeners. A strong beginning immediately captures the attention of the audience. The first words of the presentation—in our model, the “grabber”—tend to have great impact on attention and retention. Fashion a grabber that:
- Addresses the primary concern or interest of the audience
- Conveys the key benefit to them of taking the proposed action
- Leads into your first message or claim
Then, as you move toward messages, begin with the one that will be most compelling to your audience. In other words, while Message B might be most compelling to you personally, if Message A is more compelling to the audience, Message A should come first.
If, for example, the action you seek is approval of a project, all messages should speak to the benefits the audience would derive from its approval. The messages could look something like this:
- A. The project will increase revenue by 20%.
- B. By combining Team A and Team B on this project, both teams will have a lower workload.
- C. The project will enable us to hit our annual goals 4 months early.
The sequence above makes sense if the audience is primarily interested in how to increase revenue. But it would not be optimal if the audience were most concerned with lowering workloads or reaching annual goals sooner.