30 Proven Ways How to Start a Presentation
It is a common truth that the first impression is created within the first 30-40 seconds. Thus, a speaker who is going to deliver a speech has just a few seconds before an audience will create a certain impression about him/her. It doesn’t matter what aspect we analyze, it concerns each sphere. Particularly, this issue is crucial for speakers, managers, businessmen.
As you see, it is important to know how to start a presentation and make listeners get your message. Every skilled speaker uses his/her own technique to draw an audience’s attention. The success of the entire speech will depend on your ability to make contact with your listeners. If you managed to catch their attention, you win; if you’re not – then your monologue is in vain. That’s what we are going to talk about it right now.
It is the beginning of talk that sets the pace of the whole lecture/performance. The first minute determines whether you’ll get an audience involved and manage to catch them. Therefore, it is necessary to realize the whole importance of the first few sentences in order to deliver a successful memorable speech.
In this article, we have gathered 30 effective ways how to create a presentation, which were tested by dozens of speakers. These are methods that use politicians, famous respectful speakers, celebrities. They proved that the below-mentioned techniques truly work. So, choose one of them or mix several ideas and improve your speeches. Let’s get started!
Listeners assess a speaker long before he/she will say the first word. When a speaker enters a room or climbs the stage, an audience make their judgments about a person. Thus, do not forget to smile as it helps win over the audience.
Tell your story. Tell how you have reached your current position, what were your first steps, whether it was difficult and did anyone help you, etc. When using this tip, you briefly introduce yourself, listeners will be able to assess your thorny path and level of skills. Moreover, this step will show them that a speaker is just like every of attendees and they have the same chances for reaching the desired heights.
Move on stage
Do not forget that movements denote a relaxed atmosphere. If you stand still, this signals that you’re nervous and too constrained; your emotions will be immediately transmitted to listeners. Move freely all across the stage to show an audience that nothing bothers you and you feel calm and self-confident.
Start with a positive statement
Say something positive to encourage your listeners so that they feel sure that their time is not wasted and they will spend it with pleasure. You can use such expressions as “I’m sure that we’re going to have a good time together” or “I’m certain about my presentation; you’ll be satisfied with it”.
Make your listeners laugh or smile
You can stick to unusual funny techniques that make your listeners buck up. Bill Gove developed a brilliant example of the method. Once having been introduced and invited to the stage, he pretended that he had had another conversation behind the scenes and at that time, it was interrupted for the dialogue with an audience. One more popular trick is when Gove approached the edge of the stage and whispered something as it was a secret.
Such tips help to clear the air and make contact with an audience.
Tell a funny joke
In order to get listeners engaged, you can use a joke. Diverse your opening speech lines with a funny story. Although it is a tricky point. It is advisable to tell jokes as an opening speech only in those cases when a speaker is sure that it is 100% appropriate and listeners will understand it. Thus, it is better to try a joke in advance.
Make a shocking statement
Say something that causes a real shock. For instance, “Every hour, a child dies due to artillery and rocket attacks in Gaza”. Shocking statements make listeners forget about unrelated matters and concentrate on a topic under discussion.
Retell a recent conversation
If you don’t know what intro for a presentation to choose, this method can come in handy. You can say that just a few minutes or hours before a speech, you met someone by chance and had a short conversation. Then, briefly retell the essence of the dialogue. This technique looks quite informal and brings a speaker closer to his/ her audience.
Make a poll
Ask a question and let listeners react by raising hands. This technique allows interacting with an audience. As a result, listeners are engaged in a discussion, they feel cheerful. For example, if it is a marketing seminar, it is possible to ask: “How many of you use a sales funnel at work?”. When attendees show of their hands, ask one of them: “Does it really help during a workflow?”. It is one of the win-win options on how to make contact with listeners.
Tell a real story
A love for narration is cultivated since childhood when parents tell us fairytales or fables. It is natural to feel calm and concentrated when someone tells an interesting story from one’s life. If you want to make listeners calm down after a coffee break, start your narration. The idea is that your 60–90-second introduction will captivate those attendees and include the key message of the entire subsequent report.
Use eye contact with an audience
It is advisable to look directly at your listeners. Pick up several persons from an audience and look at them during your monologue. While if you’ll look above attendees all the time, they’ll try to find that place that bothers you too much. Or if you constantly look at slides, it means that you’re poorly prepared.
Eye contact is an important part of your image. It demonstrates that a speaker is not afraid of attendees and wants to communicate with them. If you avoid eye contact, listeners will quickly get bored and indifferent.
State a problem and explain its relevance for attendees
Explain the main message of your report and then emphasize why a topic is important for listeners. What benefits will they get during your speech? A skilled speaker should clearly point out all the benefits that an audience will get in case of following your advice or taking the desired actions.
Quote a famous person, celebrity
Provide wise words of a famous person whose name will attractiveness and social weight add to your speech. But it’s important to understand that the quote should be appropriate: be sure that it makes sense and relevance specifically for your audience and issue.
Imagine that you are a conflict manager and convince a group of reaching an agreement. When opening debates, you can quote Mark Twain, who once said: “If two people agree on everything, one of them is not needed.” The following sentence should add a bit of unity: “Even though not all of us equally see a way out of a problem, the efforts of each of us are extremely important in reaching an agreement.”
Choose some interesting and surprising data to draw attendees. Here, it is important to use those facts that do not overload your message and increase listeners’ curiosity. For example “80% of all people consume fast food at least once a week. Are you one of them?”.
Combine a statement with a question
This tip is the result of the previous one. You can combine this technique with number 14 and get an excellent dialogue with members of a seminar. For example, after introducing some statistics, you can pose a question: “How do you think what is the overall amount of sold fast food per day?”.
Refer to history
Another trick is recalling a famous historic event. If you want to highlight why your issue is topical, you can make a short journey into the history of a problem. Make sure that the chosen event is catching but not boring and will help attract members of a conference.
One more tip is adding visualization. Remember that the best formula for a successful speech is the combination of well oratory skills supported by visual elements. You can use either digital tools (presentations, slides, 3D demonstration) or material objects. For instance, “This is a silicon wafer. It is made of one of the most widespread materials in the world – sand!” This is one of the key points on how to give a good presentation.
Describe how the world will look like when a problem under consideration will be solved
This technique may be used in combination with other tricks. For example, ask listeners: “Do you want to see clean cities and seas in a couple of dozen years? It can be achieved if considering and implementing the principles we are to talk about”.
Make contact with your listeners by pointing common features
It is possible to say something like this: “I am a professional speaker. I get paid for speaking. I think you get paid for the same thing; the only difference is that your performance lasts a year, and mine is only an hour. I am standing at the stage, you are sitting at your tables, but we all get paid for the way we perform”. Such a trick shows that you’re an ordinary person just like every attendee.
Share your own experience with listeners
Describe the event that happened with you. “I called a friend, and his answering machine said:“ Sorry, the phone’s memory is full. Goodbye”. It made me think that many people today are so busy that they have neither time nor ability to listen”.
Start with a thought-provoking riddle
Ask a public a riddle that requires increased concentration and brain activity. This will make listeners curious. They will try to find an answer. This is a good way to engage a public in a discussion.
Use body language
Demonstrate your confidence using body language. Remember that gestures, postures, and mimics betray you and demonstrate stress and uncertainty. Constrained movements show that you’re nervous. Although it is natural to feel nervous, a skilled speaker, who wants to win the hearts of listeners, will try to hide this feeling and look self-confident, easy-tempered, and cheerful.
Make listeners develop creativity and imagination by posing such questions as “what if…” or “imagine that…”
In order to get attendees involved, pose questions that develop their creative thinking. In such cases, they will participate in a discussion, think over possible ways out or solutions. Thus, they won’t get bored.
Show a video
Imagine that you start your presentation for a production department with a video in which satisfied customers give positive feedback to your product. Or you are opening a fundraising event for endangered animals with a mini-film about the Amur leopard and its offspring.
The video provokes an emotional reaction. Unlike words and slides, a short film adds drama and quickly conveys the essence of what is happening. This is an excellent option of how to start a project presentation.
If you want to choose an unusual way of starting a presentation, pay attention to this tip. You can go on stage and say: “Hush! Do you hear?”. And keep everyone in complete silence. This step intrigues and every attendee will wait for continuation to find out what will happen next.
Welcome an audience with words of gratitude
It is a rather common way but, nevertheless, it’s quite effective. You can start a monologue saying: “Thank you for coming”. Or other similar word constructions which express gratitude.
In order to get your audience involved, you can choose the technique of listeners intriguing. Use such sentences as “I have something special for you”, “During my speech, I’ll reveal the secret that no one ever voiced”, etc. After these words, they will attentively listen to you and wait until you reveal the secret you have promised.
Use a future or past tense for an opening speech
A classic example of this technique is Martin Luther King’s speech “I have a dream”. Many politicians tend to use this tip for public speaking. The same method can be applied to past events.
This is a useful trick for drawing attention. Especially, if you’re going to talk about complicated issues or monotonous questions. A simple analogy will show that your topic is not so boring or complex as it seems, as well as help simplify a further talk.
Memorize an opening speech
Skilled speakers advise memorizing few first sentences of talk in order to feel confident and demonstrate your readiness for a conversation with an audience. Even if you’re supported by a visual digital presentation, still it is better not to read and learn an opening speech by heart.
Remember that it is possible to combine several techniques. The main thing is to find the most suitable option that will be ideal for your very presentation.
Apart from speech, there is one more important aspect that also requires particular preparation. Nowadays, almost all reports and speeches are supported by a digital presentation. Speakers widely use them as such digital materials allow visualizing complex issues of a speech, simplify perception, and draw attention. In this regard, it is necessary to know how to start a presentation on PowerPoint. Although the process seems to be easy, quite frequently, speakers make mistakes while creating visual materials. A speaker should choose the right visual style and colors, which will match your stylistics and looks modern.
All these features are combined in the below-mentioned templates. These are links to high-quality premade templates that will help create digital projects quicker and easier. At the same time, users are sure that their presentations will look perfect in all cases. On the site, sets of slides for different types of reports, analyses, and presentations are represented. Moreover, lots of them are available for free download. It is an excellent chance to try a pack. Due to a wide range of offered elements, it is possible to find the ideal template for your stylistics and create a professional vivid material in a few minutes.
Oratory is real art. It is not so easy to master it. One should practice a lot in order to find out the best way to draw an audience’s attention and keep it till the last word of his/her monologue. The above-mentioned tips are designed to help beginning speakers. But it is necessary to remember that the main task is to find the right combination of all the techniques that are suitable for you. When you manage to develop your own style of speech delivering, then you will find your place among skilled speakers. We wish you be patient and not to lose hope.