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7 Ways To Begin Your Presentations With a Bang

        posted by , December 10, 2012

Do I have your attention? What about now? ...... Now?

Whether it's an article or a presentation your best chance of grabbing attention is right at the start.

The art of opening a presentation or speech is well developed. There are at least 7 techniques known to work. These vary greatly in difficulty.

Lead from your strengths and deliver a great opening you're comfortable with.

1. Tell a Joke

According to most studies, people's number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you're better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.
~ Jerry Seinfeld
Everyone likes to laugh.

Keep in mind that comedy can be extremely difficult to deliver to an audience. Even professional comedians bomb all the time.

Even if your joke falls flat, the tension of a failed joke hanging in the air will wake your audience. Trust me, I've tried it.

2. Make a Bold Promise

Boldness be my friend.
~ William Shakespeare
Make a bold promise to deliver something in your presentation.

It can be something serious or amusing. You should be able to link it into the theme of your presentation. You also need to deliver what you promise (even if it's in some superficial way).

A serious promise might be something like ~ I'm going to show you how to make your sales quota every quarter for the rest of your life.

An amusing promise might be ~ We're also going to discover why Napoleon wore suspenders with a bumblebee pattern sewn into them.

3. Ask an Intriguing Question

This is a good way to engage your audience. However, it can backfire if no one answers your question. You'll be stuck begging for an answer.

Some speakers like to ask a question that everyone will agree with ~ who wants more money? When the audience all agree it psychologically establishes the speaker as an effective leader.

4. State an Amazing Statistic

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.
~ Benjamin Disraeli, former British Prime Minister
This is an easy way to get your audience thinking. It's important that the statistic have a wow factor.

5. Begin with an Amusing Anecdote

An amusing anecdote is a great way to engage. Two types of anecdote work best: personal stories and those involving famous people.

By telling a personal story you can build rapport with your audience.

6. Invoke the Mind’s Eye

Picture this ... you give a presentation that's so incredibly effective that everyone claps wildly at the end and calls for an encore.

Beginning your presentation with phrases such as "Imagine ..." and "Picture this ..." get your audience into creative mode.

7. Quote Someone Famous

This is the easiest opening to deliver. Be sure to select a quote that hasn't been overused. People commonly post quotations to social media. Many quotes have become so familiar that they're cliché.

This is the 6th installment in the 9-part series of posts called How to Give Magnetic Presentations.

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