How To Begin A Presentation

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Once we communicate, we now have about 60 seconds to seize our viewers’ consideration, set up credibility, orient them to our subject, and inspire them to hear, says Darlene Price, president of Well Said Inc, and author of “Well Said! Presentations and Conversations That Get Results”.

For those who waste these treasured opening seconds with a joke, an agenda, an apology, housekeeping particulars, a string of thank-yous, or a rambling, pointless paragraph affected by “ums” and “uhs”, your viewers’s minds are more likely to drift, and also you make not get them again. “You’ll want to put the artwork within the begin, a very powerful a part of the work

“The beginning is the most important part of the work”. – Plato

That’s a tall order for any speaker – and it requires us to develop and rehearse a effectively-crafted, consideration-getting opener. Price provides seven choices:

Also Read: How to be more Confident 

1. Tell a Fascinating Story:

“Of all of the starters in your toolkit, storytelling is among the most powerful and consistently successful,” Price says. “As humans, we’re hard-wired to enjoy and learn from stories. From bedtime stories and campfires, to Broadway theaters and boardrooms – heroes, villains, conflict, plots, dialogue, and lessons learned draw us in, remind us of our own lives, and hold our attention.”

The story may be about you personally, which tells the viewers first-hand why you’re invested in and passionate concerning the subject. Or you’ll be able to inform a narrative about one other one that the viewers can study from.

Another choice: Tell a fable, wisdom tale, historic event or anecdote. “The idea is, start with a brief 60- to 90- second narrative that launches your speech and captivates your listeners, and make sure the story encapsulates the key point of your message.”

She suggests you consider these questions as you craft your version of “Once upon a time”:

  • What challenges have you ever (or one other) confronted in relation to your subject?
  • How did you (or one other) overcome them?
  • Who or what helped you or harmed you?
  • What lessons were learned?
  • What would you like your viewers to realize, really feel, or do because of the story?

2. Ask a Rhetorical, Thought-Provoking Question:

 “As Shakespeare wrote in “The Merchant of Venice,’ ‘if you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?” says Price.

“As a speaker, you ask rhetorical questions for persuasive effect; you don’t expect the audience to answer aloud, rather silently to themselves.

When crafted and delivered well, rhetorical questions influence an audience to believe in the position of the speaker. “Clearly, Shakespeare’s character Shylock is leading his listeners to think ‘yes’ four times in order to justify revenge against Antonio. What do you want your audience to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to?”

Along with sure or no questions, you may as well arouse curiosity and encourage your viewers to consider the reply, she says.

3. State a Shocking Statistic or Headline:

Price says the vice president of sales for America’s leading healthcare IT Company successfully sells software solutions to hospitals by starting her presentations with the following:

“According to a new study in the Journal of Patient Safety, medical errors leading to patient death are much higher than previously thought. Preventable adverse events, known as PAEs, cause up to 400,000 deaths per year for patients who seek care at a hospital. That means medical errors are the third leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer. Our vision is to create a world free of medical errors, and we need your help.”

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“The statistic, bold claim, or headline needs to be directly related to the main purpose of your presentation.” Price explains. “Its impact ideally persuades the audience to listen and respond positively to your recommendation and next steps.”

4. Use a Powerful Quote:

“Make use of the smart phrases of a widely known particular person, as a result of the identify lets you faucet into his or her credibility, likability and notoriety,” she says. The quote needs to have the meaning and relevance to the viewers.

Imagine you’re urging a group to reach consensus, or giving a talk on conflict management. You could open with: “Mark Twain once said, ‘if two people agree on everything, one of them is unnecessary’. Even though some of us disagree on XYZ issue, each of us is necessary in reaching a resolution.”

5. Show a Gripping Photo in your presentation:

A picture is worth a thousand words – “maybe even more,” Price says. “Use pictures as a substitute of texts, when possible,” she suggests.

A top quality picture provides aesthetic attraction, will increase comprehension, engages the viewers’s creativeness, and makes the message extra memorable.

Price offers the following example of an effective use of an image:

The president of an electronics equipment company needed his mangers to cut costs. Rather than showing mundane charts, graphs, and spreadsheets, he opened the meeting by asking, “What sank the Titanic?” When everyone in unison replied, “an iceberg”, he displayed a beautiful high-definition image of an iceberg on the screen: the tip of the iceberg was clearly visible above the water; the much larger portion was dimly visible below the surface of the water.

“The same thing is about to happen to our company,” he continued. “Hidden costs – the dangers beneath the surface – are about to sink this company. I need your help.” This visual metaphor spawned a creative, productive brainstorming session that inspired every business unit manager to diligently hunt for what they labeled the “icebergs”, says price. The result was saving million and ultimately the company.

6. Use a Prop or Creative Visual Aid:


“A prop is a magnetic tool that hooks your audience and keeps them watching – or listening,” Price says. A visual aid can also help emphasize a point.

Price makes use of the instance of a gross sales VP at a big insurance coverage firm, who occurs to be an avid tennis participant. She says he needed to kick off his annual assembly with a bang – so he “brilliantly used his tennis racquet to emphasize ‘acing the competition’, ‘rallying together as a team’, and winning a ‘grand slam’ through great customer service.” Year after year, other speakers were compared to this leader’s creative ability to present a motivational message, she says.

“Think about how you could use items like a big wall clock, a colorful gift bag, juggling balls, a deck of cards, a bunch of carrots  or another prop, to introduce your topic, captivate the audience, inject humor, and drive home your message.”

 7. Play a Short Video during your presentation:


Think about kicking off a product administration assembly with a video of compelling buyer testimonials, or opening a fundraising occasion for endangered species by exhibiting an Amur Leopard playing with her cubs in the wild.

“Video evokes emotional responses,” Price explains. “Unlike text and bullet points on a slide, you can employ people, pictures, and sound to reel in the audience, add drama, and communicate the gist of your message quickly.”

As Walt Disney said, “I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained.”

Also Read: How To Make Some Classic Cocktails

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How To Begin A Presentation

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