October 31, 2018

3 Techniques to Start Your Presentation off on the Right Foot

As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.  This holds true for presentations. The very first line of the first slide is so important – it can make or break your presentation.

Despite knowing this, most presenters turn to the same old openings such as “Good evening, my name is …” and “Today I want to talk about …” Little do they know that half of their audience has already stopped listening.

 

You can avoid these common pitfalls and show right from the start that you’re personable, well-prepared and that your presentation is anything but boring. The following three techniques will help you start your presentation off on the right foot.

1. Focus on Your Voice

Experimenting with the volume and tone of your voice is a great way to add contrast and liven up a presentation. So how can you apply this to your opening? Start your presentation by speaking loudly and emphatically. Once you have everyone’s attention, you can slow things down a bit and speak a little softer. Everyone in the audience will feel like you’re speaking just to them, which will help them feel connected to your content.

2. Share Your Vision

Your vision is the reason why you’re presenting in the first place. What do you want to communicate? Why is your topic important to you? Be passionate about your content and your audience will follow suit.

It can help to write down your personal vision in advance. You don’t need to recite it word-for-word and you certainly don’t want to read it off a cue card.  But doing this forces you to put your feelings into words.

3. Visual Support

The right visual material will underscore your content and fascinate your audience. A strong graphic on the opening slide focuses attention and paves the way for a memorable presentation.

A strong introduction can include a quote or a provocative image – something that will make the audience think, smile or even shock them! That’s how you pull them in.

The Bottom Line

The opening of a presentation can be really difficult and stressful for many people, but it doesn’t have to be. Take your time and prepare your opening, check the on-site technical equipment, and check and recheck your files and documents. A smooth start will not only impress your audience, it will also give you the self-confidence you need for a perfect presentation.

You can find more ideas in our blog article Seven Tips to Capture Your Audience’s Attention from the Get-Go.

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