In real life it looks not so simple and fast. It is not accidentally that we use a verb "to earn" when we talk about the audience's attention. You have to earn it, really. It doesn’t go by itself or just because you are a good looking and charismatic person.
NB! Experts are sure: the most important part of your presentation is the first part. Your key time is the first 10 minutes of it.
If you didn't earn their trust and attention during this time, it will decrease your chances to make this public speech successful. So – stay attentive and focused. USE your time, your talent and your preparation to start the presentation in a best way.
Today we are going to talk about different styles of introduction and start.
Style 1. Attention, please!
This part actually starts at home. You should prepare well – think carefully about things which may be interesting to your audience (sure, you should know those people well), what may earn their attention from the first words. It is not difficult to understand, that one audience may react to one type of the beginning, and other audience may see it as a bad way to start. It also depends on your topic – if your key points are quite easy or even entertaining, you can start with a joke, but when talking about a political situation, better to begin with statistics. How can you use your preparation when you are going to start? Tell them about your real thoughts – what you were thinking about today in the morning, when you were repeating your main points, what you were going to tell, to discuss. This is very real and alive, people love this way. But keep it short, if it is possible.
Style 2. Hello there!
If your presentation or event is quite informal, implies free formats of communication, the topic is not too serious and it's not a business presentation for your possible investors, you may start in the most easy way. Just greet the people who are here sitting in front of you. Say them hello. Ask about their mood and their day, their plans – this may not always lead to answers, the question may be rhetorical (prepare it in advance). Make a short pause after it – you may get not only the attention, but also smiles, nodes and even answers.
Style 3. Questions, questions!
Start with a question. The question should be interesting, not like in the description of the second style. The question should lead to attention of your audience, may make them thought, discuss, answer or not (if the format of the conference doesn't allow to answer, they will do it inside themselves). They should stop, sit or stand and really think. The question may be paradoxical, funny, casual, critical, personal (polite and not intimate one). Are you exhausted with your work? Is your kid happy now? Can you close your eyes and count to sixty? Use any interesting or relevant one.
Style 4. Some wisdom for you
A popular, interesting and really working way to start your presentation is to use famous – or not so used – quotation by a well-known person. Better if it is a professional or guru in the field that you are talking about, but sometimes it is completely relevant to use just world-famous persons' quotes. Start with wisdom and you'll pay attention to your words from the very beginning. How it works? The person who is well known all over the world, alive or not, is the unquestioned authority to other people. All or the most things this person had ever said was about wisdom. People will agree with his or her words. And they will agree with you and trust you – because you also think these words are true.
Style 5. Story always works
Keynote speakers and famous speakers often begin their presentations with stories. People love stories, they pay attention from the first seconds, follow the story line, hear to their own feelings, express it and this may help you a lot. If you are a beginner, use it too – but don't tell a long story, try to earn attention with a short and impressive one. Don't forget to say in the end, why have you told this story to them. The story may look like a preparation to your main topic, not just a story about nothing by itself. You may use humor to break an ice, but don't overplay.
Style 6. Past and future
Start with an interesting statistics or facts about past situations or future possibilities which are close to your audience's interests. For example, tell them about their parents' childhood (do you know that only 10% of your relatives had phones at home?) or about some predictions (a number of patients with this disease will increase by 30% by 2020). It is good to compare with today's situation, to make those facts more impressive. Talk about their problems – and they will listen to you. Remember, 10 minutes is a key.
We wish you a great start!
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