Funny thing. One of the biggest questions in presenting is not the content, the PowerPoint or the delivery. It’s more primal: “how the heck should I start?” Learn 5 tips so you can have a strong start to your presentation.
My guess is you’ve got a big presentation looming — so without further ado, here are the five things to do to start strong!
Tip 1: Do Your Prework
Even if you are short on time, be sure to do the necessary prework to connect with your contact. In many cases someone else will be introducing you. In a hectic work schedule, getting together with your introducer is often pushed to the last minute — or doesn’t occur until you walk into the room.
To be proactive, send an email saying you’re coming to present. Give the introducer 3 key points to help him or her prepare. If you don’t have time to write, leave a brief voice mail. This alerts the person that you are on your way and will connect at the event.
Tip 2: Help Out!
Coach the person who is doing the introduction. If you have a chance, print out a copy of the introduction in advance.
Hint: one page maximum! Write it in a large, easy to read font. Emphasize key points that are specific to each audience.
This shows that you care about the success of your presentation.
Tip 3: Emphasize Tone
With or without a written introduction, take a moment to meet with your introducer. Emphasize the tone you want to create. Should the person introduce you with humor or more formally? Highlight key principles so you can guarantee a strong start for your presentation.
Tip 4: Do It Yourself
In many settings, you will introduce yourself. This requires the same kind of attention to detail that you’ve been doing when working with a contact.
Plan your introduction and specifically focus on the tone, mood, and connection to your specific audience. When you start strong and set a warm, friendly tone, your audience is much more willing to listen to the rest of your talk.
Tip 5: Be Brief
Being brief is one of the best ways to start! Instead of droning on and on about your topic or your expertise — be concise. A short and punchy opening alerts the crowd to the value of your presentation.
Practice the art of being brief by doing 3 things:
a. Write out your introduction.
Do this the old-fashioned way – with pen and paper. This helps you connect with a more conversational tone and style.
b. Practice speaking your introduction out loud.
Do any of the words sound stilted or pompous? Notice if what you have written is how you speak naturally.
c. Edit out any words that do not ‘sound the way you speak.’
Go ahead. Be ruthless. Even surgical. Eliminate any long words that are not how you naturally speak to a friend or non-expert colleague.
With these 5 tips, you can start strong and give a powerful presentation to any crowd.
Develop professional skills to give phenomenal business presentations. Start strong, tell the right story, and end strong to reach more customers and grow your business.