Open with Pizzazz
Your presentation is composed of three parts - the opening, the body and the close.
Your opening is important because it should do three things for you:
- Grab the attention of your audience.
- Establish rapport with your listeners.
- Introduce your topic.
Instead of blowing a whistle, clapping your hands or shouting, "Hey people!" try this. Stand at the front of the room, look at the group and say nothing. As you catch the eye of an individual, smile at them and nod your head to signify yes. Eventually the room will quite down, folks will stop shuffling papers and they will pay attention. It might take several seconds. But it is an effective way to start.
Talk and look directly at individuals in your audience. Never read your opening from a script. That appears cold. Have you ever watched a speaker read his opening line that includes stating his name? Did you wonder why he had to read his name?
Stand still during your opening and minimize gestures so you look calm and in control.
Speak at a pace that is a little slower than normal so they hear every word clearly. Speaking slower deepens your voice which makes it sound more trustworthy. Also, speaking slower will allow you more opportunity to breathe to calm your nerves. Hence you will look and sound more confident.
Speak in a conversational tone. Do not start with, "How is everybody today?" and force the audience to respond with false enthusiasm.
Introduce your topic
An effective opening line is to make a startling statement, quote a dramatic statistic or pose a rhetorical question. Make the topic of your presentation clear from the beginning. Don't make small talk or ramble about something unrelated to your topic. Don't start with a joke. You could start with an analogy or short anecdote that relates to your topic.
Open your presentation with pizzazz
PS: tell me how this tip helps you.
PPS: Thanks for your comments and feedback.
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Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.