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.
Okay so before we begin, if you have not checked my previous articles on Presentation, you can go check them now.
So you have to grab the audience’s attention from the very first second. Here’s three ways how not to start your presentation.
- “Good evening, my name is Tom. Here’s some totally uninteresting facts about me and why I come here to talk about this subject, blah, blah, blah”.
That’s so cliche. You are begging people to fall asleep immediately. Do not introduce yourself. That’s just how every mediocre speaker begins a boring presentation, people will start checking their emails right after you speak those words. If you need an introduction, have someone else do it for you. Here’s another one.
2. “It’s a great honor to be here today, speaking to such a distinguished audience, thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today. I know how busy you all are”.
Now, this is pure flattery. And people can smell that.
You can complement your audience, but make it appropriate, sincere and factual. And do it at the end of your talk, not in the beginning.
And this is one of my favorites.
3. “Welcome. First of all, I want to apologize because I am not a professional speaker. And as you may hear, I have a bit of a cold, which also means I haven’t slept very well last night. So I hope you will enjoy this presentation after all”.
You could as well commit suicide. Don’t apologize, ever. Even when your fly is open. You’re wearing two different shoes, or your haircut is totally out of place, never apologize.
Don’t say you’re sorry for starting late, or that the real speaker couldn’t be here. That’s a depressing way to start your speech. Your objective when opening is to reach out and grab the attention by the throat and give them a compelling reason to give you their undivided attention for the next 15 or 30 minutes.