13 Secrets of Effective Presentation Skills – Secret #3

Secret #3 – Have a strong start

I’ve often heard it said that one should “start the talk with a Bang.” That can work , it depends on the context. The danger is that the “Bang” turns out to be a whimper and misses the target by miles.

In most cases, your introduction needs some form of statement which hooks audience interest and attention, leading into the topic that you intend to talk about. It doesn’t have to be long – or witty – but it does need to be ear catching and at least a little intriguing.
eg: “We’ve been making it for centuries. The prices it commands can be astronomical. Volumes have been written about its beauty and complexity. And it all begins with one simple little berry, the grape. And in particular, the Cabernet Sauvignon – and it’s this grape, and what it can produce – that is the subject of this presentation.

Then introduce yourself if need be. Many start off with their name as the first words they utter. That’s not wrong, but it isn’t going to grab audience attention. Better to hook their attention first as shown above, THEN you can introduce yourself.

The next piece in the sequence is probably the most important – tell your audience the purpose or the aim of the presentation ie: what they can gain from listening to you, what you expect them to do or think differently as a result of giving you their time. Finally, lay out your agenda – what you’ll be covering. With precious few exceptions, keep it to 3 agenda items. Why so few?

They won’t remember any more than 3.

All of this will probably take between 30-90 seconds- no longer. Much shorter and you won’t do your introduction justice. Too long, and people are wondering where you are and when you’re going to start!


Best wishes