How to open presentation L 4 Ing. Jiří Šnajdar 2015
If you’re a beginner or very nervous, demonstrate that you’re prepared and organized. This will reassure your audience that your presentation is not going to be a waste of time. Here’s a formula you can use – answer the three questions your audience will have in their minds:
1. What’s the topic of your presentation? Give a one-sentence overview of what you’re talking about. 2. Why should your audience be interested? What’s in it for them? Give them a reason to listen. 3. Why are you talking about it? What are your qualifications or experience which give you the credibility to be talking about it.
People in your audience will sense that you’ve carefully planned your talk (which will give them a sense of relief that it’s not going to be a disorganised ramble), and they’ll be receptive to what you’re going to cover. This type of opening is also appropriate for most business presentations you give internally.
Learning how to start a presentation is just as important as knowing how to finish it. It is the beginning of the conversation that can make or break it in capturing your audience’s attention. We forget that there are many ways to start a presentation that will engage the hearts and minds of the people you want to convey your message to.
Getting your audience’s attention from the beginning is the most important thing one can do in starting a presentation. Yes, you want to introduce yourself and complete the formalities as quickly as possible, but without grabbing their attention, you’ve already lost them. Remembering the importance of capturing the attention of who you’re speaking to will set you up for the many other strategies we convey.
Another important formality is welcoming your audience with a thank you. It shows both sincerity and appreciation and additionally establishes the sense of community with your audience. A great example of this is welcoming them coupled with a thank you for the opportunity to speak.
In general it is not a good idea to memorize your entire speech. It is however a good idea to memorize the beginning 4 – 10 sentences. This is critical because it allows you to feel confident and ride the wave of confidence as you continue your presentation.
Generally your audience will know your purpose or why you’re there but you want to be sure make it clear to them. But another approach can be changing the purpose to “I’m here discuss our team’s capabilities but more importantly discuss strategies you can implement and why they would be effective.”
Silence - We are all uncomfortable when there is silence. Yet incorporating silence into your presentation can be a valuable tool causing the audience to be attentive to what you are going to say next. This can be a way to lighten the room and become more connected with the audience. Don’t overdo this as it can steer people away from your purpose, but proper usage of this technique can be effective in starting any presentation.
Start a scene in the far past or in the future and then always connect it back to the main story. This is a power tool to arouse the attention of the viewer, or in the presentation’s case, your audience. Or… Quoting someone is a great way to start any presentation. Just be sure to make it relevant to the purpose of your speech and presentation. If you are using slides, adding a picture of the person you are quoting to add more texture and extent to your presentation.
Tell A Story, you can start a start at the beginning of your presentation and then connect it to the purpose of why you’re there. Many great presenters use this technique and it remains one of the most critical pieces to becoming an effective presenter.
Point To Their Problem - Point To Their Opportunity To start a presentation you can begin with direct questions to the audience. It’s a great way to wake up their senses, get them engaged and get you more connected with them.
Video remains a powerful mechanism to begin a presentation. That it is an important prop but should be used sparingly. Keep in mind you want to use video to further your message, not overtake your message. You can show a funny video that showcases or furthers your purpose, state something that is contradictory to most people, make fun of something….the sky is the limit.
Apply the famous advice "when you advertise fire- extinguishers, open with the fire" to your presentation. Says advertising executive David Ogilvy. You have only 30 seconds in a TV commercial to grab attention. The same applies to a presentation. The first 30 seconds of your talk is crucial. This is the time your listeners form an impression of you, and of what's to follow.
You need to hit the ground running by starting strong. Instead, many presenters are more like old, tired workhorses—they start weak by wasting those first precious seconds with platitudes and pleasantries. Brain research shows that we don't pay attention to boring things. Surprise your listeners with a hook that immediately grabs their attention.
The key is to make sure that the hook is brief, well- rehearsed and pertinent to your topic. 1.Make a statement of a universally accepted concept, then go against conventional wisdom by contradicting the statement. 2. Ask a series of rhetorical questions. A common way to engage the audience at the start is to ask a rhetorical question. Better still, start with a series of rhetorical questions. For example, why is Apple so innovative?... Why is it that they seem to have something different?
3. Deliver a compelling/ impressive sound bite(short extract from a recorded interview). Use a catchy phrase or sound bite that has pungency/ intensity and watch how the audience perks up. To be effective, the sound bite needs to be brief, interesting and compelling. 4. Make a startling assertion. A surefire way to gain people's attention is by starting with a startling or amazing fact. Take the time to research startling statistics that illustrate the seriousness of what you're going to talk about.
5. Provide a reference to a historical event. There are times when the day that you present may have some significance in history that can be tied to the subject of your presentation.
6. Use the word imagine. The word imagine invites the audience to create a mental image of something. Ever since John Lennon's famous song, it has become a powerful word with emotional appeal. "Imagine" is a song written and performed by the English musician John Lennon. The best-selling single of his solo career, its lyrics encourage the listener to imagine a world at peace without the barriers of borders or the divisiveness.
7. Arouse curiosity. You can start with a statement that is designed to arouse curiosity and make the audience look up and listen to you attentively. 8. Use quotations differently. Many speakers start with an apt quotation, but you can differentiate yourself by stating the quotation and then adding a twist to it. For example, "We've all heard that a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. But we need to remember that a journey to nowhere also starts with a single step."
9. Quote a foreign proverb. There is a wealth of fresh material to be selected from foreign proverbs. Chances are your listeners have never heard them so they have novelty appeal. "You'll never plow a field by turning it over in your mind" (Ireland); "The nail that sticks up will be hammered down" (Japan),“
10. Tell them a story. Stories are one of the most powerful ways to start a presentation. But the story needs to be brief, with just the right amount of detail to bring it to life. It must be authentic and must have a "message," or lesson, to support your viewpoint. Above all, it must be kind. As Benjamin Disraeli said: "Never tell an unkind story."