I like watching movies and I make it a point to watch the reviews before I commit myself to watch a movie. There are all kinds of movies, some are bad, some average and some amazing movies.
Good movies aside, One thing is very common in all bad movies, they are all very predictable. Why do we not like predictability? Actually, we humans, are built in a way that predictability does not interest us, at least it does not sustain our interest for long.
This is the same principle that applies when you begin a presentation or speech. If you start by “Hi I am John” or “Good Morning My name is John”, you are giving a signal, “well there he is, I know what he is going to tell me”.
No matter how interesting and powerful your presentation is, the beginning has conditioned your audience to guess what is coming, and for them what is coming is predictable and boring
This is the single most important reason why you should pay a lot of attention to the beginning of your presentation. I strongly recommend going through our Complete Guide To Effective Communication Skills to build your overall skills in effective communication.
3 POWERFUL WAYS TO BEGIN A PRESENTATION OR SPEECH
There are only three powerful ways to begin a presentation or speech. You can follow them from the third most powerful to the most powerful way.
3. ASK A QUESTION
This is the third-best way to start a presentation or speech. You begin by asking a question that matters to your audience. Ask them a question that relates to solving the problems of the audience.
“Do you know there are only three powerful ways to begin a presentation and captivate your audience?”
This would be my beginning for a presentation on the best ways to start a presentation or speech. There are two basic things to keep in mind :
- The question should be related to your topic and what matters to your audience
- It should not be too obvious for e.g if I had asked you “Do you want to learn 3 best ways to begin a presentation or speech”. Quite predictable and boring we all know.
2. A Fact to shock your audience43
How’s that for a fact? These shocking facts capture your attention instantly. Begin by stating a fact that has shock value and creates awe in the minds of your audience.
It immediately captures the focus of the audience who then, will follow you along. However, the fact must be relevant to the topic and audience must relate to it.
1. TELL A STORY – THE ART OF STORYTELLING
It was a dark hall all lights were dim for us to see the screen. It was my first major solo presentation on my industry project during my MBA program. I was nervous with cold sweats all over my palm and shivering. I was clad in a nice black suit with a white shirt and a red tie then suddenly my I froze with fear and then….something amazing happened!
Nothing can sustain our attention and keep our interest than stories. The movie industry would not have been so successful if we did not like stories. Since childhood, we are used to listening to stories. We create pictures in our mind when someone tells a story and want to know what happens next. How did I come out of my situation during the presentation?
Well, this did not actually happen with me but it gives you the idea that storytelling is the single most powerful way to begin a presentation or speech. The audience starts visualizing the events as it unfolds, resulting in them getting highly engaged with the speech or presentation.
In today’s connected world, it is not difficult to frame a question, fact or story through the plethora of online resources available.
Decide for yourself which is the best strategy to open a presentation or speech for your audience. Begin powerfully and captivate your audience.