Presentations – grab attention instantly

30th May 2023

Presentations need a good start.

When your audience loves you immediately, they’ll probably keep loving you.

But if they start by hating you… well, that’s not good.

Which is why, when you prepare your presentations, I advise you…

      … spend at least 20% of your prep time on the first 2% of your presentation

Script the start. Practise it.

Refine it. Practise it again.

And when you think it’s as good as you can get it… practise it again.

And what should your scripted opening contain? Lots of possibilities, of course. But here are two easy ones that work well:

  1. "Did you know?"
  2. "Have you ever?"

With the first, start your presentation with "did you know", followed by something they didn’t know. For example:

"Good morning everyone. Did you know that – throughout the history of the human race – out of all the people who have reached the age of 80… half of them are alive now?"

This engages the audience! They think "Wow – I did not know that! This speaker knows things I don’t. I’ll keep listening.”

The second one: say "have you ever", followed by something they have done. For example:

"Good morning everyone. Have you ever attended an Update Meeting that was absolutely dreadful?"

Again, instant engagement! They think "Yes I have. This speaker understands me. I’ll keep listening.”

(With this one, they also like the humour, of course).

There are loads of ways to grab attention instantly.

And it’s critical you do.

After all, win them then, and you’re in a great place. Lose them then, and…

Action Point

For your next presentation, spend more time scripting and practising your opening 2%. Maybe use "did you know" or "have you ever."

Once you’ve scripted it, practise saying it – out loud – loads of times.

Nail the start… nail the presentation.

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