Lousy opening to your presentation

Lousy opening to your presentation

The purpose of your opening is to build interest in your presentation. Your opening is like the opening paragraph of an article or the first chapter in your book. The question it should answer is “Why should the audience listen to your presentation?”

Sometimes we need to experience a bad example to really appreciate the difference. Here is an example of a bad opening---

The speaker said:

Good morning, good afternoon or whatever.
Guess I’m a little jet lagged. Ha.
Glad to be here in Toronto.

I’m the founder of…
We are based in California.
We have offices around the world.

Where’s Robert?
There he is.
He is my local licensee.

We’re running 15 minutes late and I had planned to speak for one hour and fifteen minutes and I plan to use all of that time.


The purpose is to build interest in listening to the rest of the presentation. Nothing he said in his opening did that. From that opening one might surmise that this speaker would be a pompous braggart and an inconsiderate boring speaker.

The audience makes those decisions during your opening.

We know what he didn’t do. Let’s dissect his opening to recognize what he did wrong.

Paragraph 1: Good morning

That’s cliché and boring. He started speaking at 4:00pm yet he didn’t know the time of day. That demonstrates lack of awareness and disregard for his audience. We don’t care about his alleged jet lag. That was his way of bragging that he travelled to get here. Glad to be in Toronto sounded insincere and it was cliché.

Paragraph 2: I’m the founder

The place for that information was in his introduction. It was in the introduction and for some reason he felt that he needed to repeat that. Why? Was he insecure? It seems those things were important to him and perhaps his mother?

Paragraph 3: Where’s Robert?

At some point Robert and his relationship might become significant. At this point, who cares?

Paragraph 4: 15 Minutes Late

Did he just criticize the organizers? Then he added that he was unwilling to adapt and didn’t care about the audience time expectations. He implied that the time of the audience was unimportant to him. It was more important that he exercise his desire to speak as long as he likes.

If you heard this opening -

Would you like this person?
Would you feel interested in his presentation?
Would you want to do business with his company?

Check the opening to your presentations. Avoid these mistakes.

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Change Management Training said...

Good walk-through on presentation. That is called the best guidance. I am glad to read this info.

Magdolna Radosits said...

Most of the people would never think that a simple "good morning" and some situational insecurity can undermine your whole presentation, though they can! Absolutely right about this, George, thank you for the insight, really. Fascinating observation.

Sanya saxena said...

Nice blog!!! The main purpose of making presentation is to convey messages properly to an audience. Thanks for sharing with us!!!