Don’t you hate it when someone recommends a book and then says, “But it takes about 50 pages to get into it.” ? Yeah, me too!
That shows how important it is for your presentation to have a great beginning. Great beginnings are what create great interest. It is the rare audience that will stick with a speaker and/or presentation until the good stuff comes. They may look like they are listening, but, believe me, in their minds dinner menus are being decided, work projects are being sewn up, and pressing financial decisions being made. All during your presentation.
Prevent this by designing an engaging and effective introduction. Get the audience interested and give them a reason to listen. Easier said than done, I know. So, let’s help you! Check out the following four tried and true ways to grab your audience (and not let go).
Describe a scene or a character
~ Paint a picture of when the obsessive-compulsive tyrant from accounting delayed all the paychecks because the IT manager was 10 minutes late with her department’s hours.
~ Recreate the sales team on a Monday morning following Friday’s dismal quarterly report.
Tell a story
~ Explain how a software conversion went off without a hitch even though the overpriced consultant insisted more expensive hardware was necessary.
~ Describe a new hire’s meteoric rise to executive level and saving the company.
~ Share how one disgruntled customer turned into your biggest account.
Share a personal experience
~ Recall your first managerial position and its victories and defeats.
~ Offer advice on how you juggled childcare and aging parent issues.
~ Describe your first day and impressions of your company.
Relate to a recent event
~ Make a parallel between a big news item – an election, a mega sporting match, celebrity gossip – and your topic.
Choose an event broad enough that it’s guaranteed most, if not all, audience members will have heard about it.
Follow the above, and your presentation will be recommended – from start to finish.