Do you want to know how to start a presentation that will make people instantly curious and listen to you like a radio?
The best presentation openings make people feel certain emotions, such as curiosity, awe, surprise, or fear. Knowing how to start a presentation is as important as the content. If you don’t start it well, you may not be able to present your ideas in a way that makes a strong enough impression.
Strong openings are fundamental if you want to capture your audience’s attention and make the best use of your time.
That’s why the following are some of the best presentation tips to keep your audience engaged. We hope they will help you, whether you are preparing for an important presentation at work or school, or just want to improve your public speaking skills in general.
How to start a presentation online created with Publuu
Publuu’s professional multimedia presentation maker is very popular for creating presentations. It not only allows you to convert PDF to a format compatible with any mobile device but also gives you the ability to add realistic page-turning effects that will undoubtedly grab your audience’s attention.
Publuu’s multimedia presentation example
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Multimedia presentations from Publuu are perfect for both live presentations, and online presentations (without the need to install additional software). You can send a link to the presentation which allows your audience to view it on their screen and read at their own pace.
Your Publuu presentation will encourage your audience to engage in conversation with you at every turn. You can add backgrounds, logos, music, and interactive galleries or hotspot links to your presentation so the audience will discover more information on their own.
Publuu application has all the elements you can use to start an interesting presentation and handling PDF with content is much more intuitive than PowerPoint!
The best tips on how to start a presentation effectively
1. Prepare well
It’s clear that you should be well-prepared before delivering your presentation, but many presenters believe that they can improvise and go with the flow. However, it’s still a good point to go through the entire presentation in your head and rehearse the major points once again. And before you start a presentation speech take care to check whether the equipment works and you have the materials on you. For many people, preparation can make them calm and in control!
2. Open with a provocative statement
One way to get the audience’s attention is to start a presentation with a strong, thought-provoking question that will instantly make them listen. Many TED talk experts – some of the best presenters online – start their presentation with a bold claim – for instance “The theory of evolution will be overthrown within the next three years”. This is a great example – it instantly promises an interesting story that goes against the audience’s expectations.
3. Tell a story
Human beings are programmed to look for a captivating story – we tell stories to explain natural processes or random coincidences. The human brain has a tendency to frame everything in terms of storytelling. If you start your presentation with a “Once, there was a person who…” you promise a good story to your audience. If you frame the rest of your presentation as a story, you’ll be sure to have a narrative you can return to.
4. Start with some humor if appropriate
A good joke at the right time can do a lot if it is appropriate to the place and time. It can make people feel at ease or focus the audience’s attention on something they weren’t expecting. It can also change the style of a presentation, and announce that it will be interesting. You can start with a joke or a funny video that illustrates your point.
But a lame, old joke or one that isn’t funny will lose the audience just as quickly. Test your jokes before you try them out in front of a crowd. And if you know you’re not inherently funny, there’s nothing wrong with trying out a joke at all. However, it’s worth it to be at ease and feel in control.
5. Show, not tell
Using visual slides is the entire point of a PowerPoint presentation design. Instead of relying on words, use visuals. For example, you can post a map of a world with major population centers and ask a question – “There is something you don’t see here. What is it?”. This slide hides some key information and the audience members wonder what is it. If you’re using copyrighted stuff, be sure to add the image source to your credits!
6. Involve your audience from the start
From the opening sentence, address your audience. You can start by crowd work. Many TED talk speakers who talk to larger audiences start by something like “who here has a dog, raise your hand. Who has two dogs? Three dogs?”. This helps you involve your audience from the beginning.
7. Be positive!
When you are in the same room as someone who is happy and optimistic, chances are good that you will feel the same way. People filled with positive emotions make other people feel that way. This is the so-called chameleon effect.
Therefore, when you give a presentation and want people to be interested in what you have to say, you need to emit positive emotions yourself. Try to have a positive attitude at the presentation, and show enthusiasm. If you yourself are full of positive energy, it will give to your audience!
8. Open with a rhetorical question
Rhetorical questions are ones that is asked to make a point, not to receive an answer. It can elicit some great emotional responses from your audience. If you ask “Do you have a dog” – that’s not rhetorical. But ask “Have you ever had the feeling that your dog wants to tell you something?” and you’re sure to surprise your audience from the get-go.
9. Open with a strong quote
One of the simplest ways to start presentations is to quote a famous thought leader or work of literature. For example, you can start a presentation of a new vehicle with a relevant quote from Henry Ford “In any color as long as it’s black”. This will help your audience to identify themselves with the subject of your presentation.
10. Make eye contact
There will be times when you have to look at your slides, but remember not to forget to make eye contact with your audience. This shows that you have enough knowledge of the content, that you don’t need to use notes, and makes you more positive.
When others ask you questions, you should always look at them, smile, and not look at the floor or ceiling. You should practice looking ahead, eye to eye, not down or up. This shows that not only are you confident, but you really care about the people you talk to.
How to start a presentation in PowerPoint?
Start with a video
A presentation that starts with a video is sure to attract attention. It’s a great method, but it shouldn’t be used that often. Therefore, if you want to start with a video, the video should be concise and easy to understand. You probably want the video to complement your message, not completely replace it. With Publuu you can embed YouTube clips in your multimedia presentation – which is less intuitive in PowerPoint, for example!
Remember the first sentences
As a rule, it’s not worth learning the entirety of your speech by heart. However, it is worth memorizing the first four to ten sentences. This is important because it gives you the confidence you need to continue your presentation. Prepare a strong first sentence, and practice your opening and closing statements until you have them memorized. This is standard procedure in the business world and you should always use it to your advantage.
Explain “why you are here”
Most of the time, your audience knows why you are there and what you want to achieve. However, it’s a good idea to explain why the presentation was created – if you have a new project, it’s a good idea to explain why it was created, the reason for it and what it’s supposed to accomplish. For example, explain why your new video game will occupy a gap in the market and why you want to create games. By considering the purpose of your presentation, you have a compass that will point you in the right direction, and you will know how to wrap it up.
How to start a presentation about yourself?
For a traditional PowerPoint Presentation tried-and-true method is to start with a quick introduction about yourself. But of course, you don’t want to sound as boring as everyone else when you say, “Hi, I’m John. I’m in charge of the Engineering.”.
Start with a story
Don’t just say your name and job title – tell a story to connect with the people in the room. Instead of introducing yourself, frame yourself, your background, and what you’re going to say as important. Why would your experience as an engineer matter? What if you started with “I’ve always dreamed of a fantastic, versatile device and that’s why I became an engineer”? Now the audience is paying attention!
Say your thanks!
Another necessary thing to do at the beginning of a presentation is to thank the audience for being present at all. Not only does it show that you are honest and appreciate their examples, but it also gives the audience a sense of belonging to the group.
One of the most effective ways to accomplish this is to give a warm welcome and express gratitude for the opportunity to give a presentation. Thank your audience and organizers while introducing yourself, and you’re sure to put them in a good mood.
However, the most important thing to do in the beginning is to set expectations for how you will present. You don’t have to start with a joke or fake positivity. Simply start by being yourself, and stay yourself the whole time you’re on stage. In this way, your presentation will sound natural and easy to understand by your audience.
Starting your presentation is very important – if you don’t start well, you may not be able to explain your ideas well to the public. Remember to present yourself well, behave positively and make a connection.
Start with a powerful quote, a video, or a controversial opinion – something that will attract attention. When introducing yourself and thanking the audience, try to make a connection and make the subject of the presentation important to them.
Remember, too, that Publuu has everything you need to start a good presentation. Engaging media, logos, music, and interactive galleries or links to online content will make your presentation interesting to people from the first moments.
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