First impressions are everything. You only have about minute to capture your audience’s attention before their minds start to drift. An effective opening is perhaps one of the most important elements of any presentation. Here is how you can make the most of your first 60 seconds:
1. Tell a story that captures your audience. An enjoyable story will have the audience hooked. Use plenty of emotion to captivate your listeners. Put yourself in the shoes of the protagonist to express how they feel in whichever situation you’re describing.
2. Ask a rhetorical question. This is a popular way of opening up presentations. A presentation about life insurance might begin with, “Have you ever considered how an unexpected death might bring financial ruin to your family?” Afterward, you can follow up with a solution to the question.
3. Give a solution. Tell your audience what they will gain from listening to your presentation or buying from your company. Consumers are primarily interested in how things benefit them and it is your job to deliver that message.
4. Use a shocking statistic. “Did you know that 80% of the world’s population live on under $10 a day?!” you ask before a crowd. You hear gasps and mutters. It has only been a few seconds, but the audience is already enthusiastic to hear what you want to say. Nothing captures a person’s attention quite like alarming facts.
5. Use a good quote. A relevant and powerful quote from a philosopher, celebrity, politician, writer, or scientist can easily stir emotions and grab your audience’s attention.
6. Use an analogy. Analogies make it easier for people to identify and understand complicated concepts or ideas.
7. Employ an image or prop. Visual cues are excellent ways of getting your audience to pay attention to your content. Images are far more memorable than text on a screen. If you need to use statistics, try to find infographics that display your information. Pie charts and bar graphs provide an excellent method of simplifying complicated data.
8. Play a video. A short video will improve your presentation by simultaneously entertaining and educating your audience. A video can reel in your audience and provoke their emotions and imagination.
Public speaking is many people’s greatest fear for a reason. Nobody likes the feeling of thousands of eyes judging them and watching their every move. You don’t need to worry so much. Just take a deep breath, relax, and use these techniques to win their hearts and minds.