Everybody has heard throughout their lives that we only have one shot to make a first impression. Yet, very few of us take advantage of that opportunity. This statement is true for one-on-one meetings, small gatherings and addressing larger groups too!
The vast majority of presentations I see begin with the speaker jumping immediately into their desired remarks. They put no thought into connecting with their audience first. We all usually do business and build relationships with the people we like yet the speaker makes no effort to be liked!
There are several different types of presentation openings you can utilize and each one comes with pros and cons. It’s up to the speaker to determine which one can work best for each audience. Most times it a trial and error process.
Here are 3 specific pros and cons for 3 types of presentation openings.
1. Opening with a Joke
The Pro is people people love to laugh and it lightens the mood. Using humor is an instant connector.
The Con is it might be inappropriate with that particular group. Know your audience. It also may seem like you’re not giving the subject matter the serious attention they think it deserves.
2. Opening with a Quote
The Pro is quotes are sometimes referred to as “borrowed wisdom”. It shows you did some research to come up with one that’s appropriate for the subject matter. In addition, there are so many great websites to find quotes.
The Con is to be very careful not to misquote. Make sure you attribute the quote to the proper person. The quote should be from a person you know the audience respects.
3. Opening with A Story
The Pro is people can relate especially to personal stories, as it humanizes you.
The Con is if stories go on too long, then the audience can’t relate and the main point becomes unclear. Make sure your story is short and to the point.
Presentation Openings be it jokes, stories, quotes, current events, statistics, the use of props and even magic tricks are all designed to capture the audience’s attention, give them an idea of what they are there to hear about and most importantly make a bold, lasting first impression.
Here are 3 tips for how to make great openings equal immediate engagement:
1. Be careful that the opening is tied into your presentation and isn’t just gratuitous.
2. Don’t take too long in your opening. Get to the point of the presentation as soon as possible.
3. Try and build in some audience interaction, if possible.
What presentation openings work for you to engage your audience?
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