Join Chris Croft for an in-depth discussion in this video Three effective and simple starts, part of Master Confident Presentations.
- So, probably the most important part of your presentation is the start, the first 30 seconds. So, you need to prepare this really carefully. It's in these first 30 seconds that the audience decide, do we want to listen to this person. But it's also in these 30 seconds that you, in your mind decide, is this talk going to be good or not. So, if it gets off to a bad start then you're really going to be struggling. So, you absolutely must get off to a good start. So, prepare it really carefully and I would say there are three things you can have in your start, you must have one of these three.
You can have two of them or even all of them. So the three things that you need to think about, one of them is start with a question. So, if I was going to do my talk about Australia, I could say, how many of you have been to Australia? Now, why is that a brilliant thing to do? Well, it gets the audience involved from the start and even the people who don't physically answer, in their mind they're thinking, well I haven't been but I'd like to go. Or, yeah I've been. So, it gets everybody involved if you ask a question. But also, you need to know whether most of the audience have been or most of them haven't.
So, asking them a question. How many people know about the changes to the tax system? You know, whatever your talk's about. So, a really good start is a question. The second way that you could start is some sort of mysterious start. So you could say, I'm going to talk to you about the biggest country in the world. Or the country that's got the most poisonous snakes of any country in the world. Or you could even put a picture up and say, does anybody know where this is? And you could put up, let's say, some jungle.
'Cause people would think Australia was going to be sort of red sand and desert. So, some sort of mysterious start. So you could say, I'm going to tell you three things you don't know about the new tax changes. Or, I'm going to tell you why the new tax changes are going to change everything. They're going to have a huge effect on your business. Something like that, something where they think, ooh I need to know that. And I quite like the idea of three things, or I'm going to tell you 10 things that you didn't know about presentation skills. It's kind of mysterious and you're thinking, ooh, I need to know those 10.
The final thing you could have in the start is the what's in it for me factor. And again, you could say, I'm going to show you 10 things that you need to know about the tax system. But there needs to be something where they say, I need to know this. So, you need to say, I'm going to talk to you about what's happening with the tax system and if you don't know about these things it could be really expensive. It could lead to all sorts of problems. Or, if you do know about these, you'll be able to make a lot more profit. So, going back to my Australia example, what's in it for you? Why should you care about my trip to Australia? And the answer is I'm going to say to you, I'm going to tell you about Australia.
Particularly I'm going to tell you about three things that you must do when you go. The best three things I discovered when I was there. And also I'm going to tell you about two things to avoid. Two things that are definitely not good to do if you ever go to Australia. So, now I've got you because you're interested, you can see what's in it for you. So, those are the three things to think about in your start. Could you start with a question? Could it be a little bit mysterious? And could it cover the what's in it for me factor? I think you can see you can do all three of those ideally.
And then, run through your start, just physically actually stand there and present it. Ideally to a person, but if not, perhaps to a dog or a cat, or to an empty room. But actually go through and say the words so you can just check that it feels okay and you don't stumble over anything. You don't have to run through your whole talk but this starting 30 seconds, you absolutely should run through it, make sure you've nailed it and then you'll feel much better before you start your talk.
- Kick-starting your presentation
- Building in a memorable ending
- Knowing your audience
- Overcoming nerves
- Practicing your presentation
- Using the right body language
- Interacting with the audience
- Working with PowerPoint