How To Start A Presentation

Colleagues having a presentation SelfHelpGeek

Giving a presentation is something a lot of people don't know how to do. Some business owners, marketers, even certain professionals. And it always strikes me how people think about their presentation or how they prepare their presentations. 

I'm actually talking about the first words, the first sentences of a presentation. What most people do is they think of a presentation some sort of PowerPoint.

So you make your slides, you look at your slides and you think about what to say showing each slide. But my question to you is this: what are your first words? What are your first sentences?

Very few people think about that. Just think a minute about the presentation that you have already seen in the past, maybe the ones that you have done yourself. There is a cliche sentence that most speakers out there use to introduce their topic. 

They say something like: Good morning, good afternoon, my name is _ (if they don't know you) and then there is this typical sentence, “today I'm going to talk to you about". Now most people might say, "so what's the problem?" 

The problem with this sentence is that you're answering the wrong question, you're answering the WHAT question. What are you going to do? I'm going to talk about... No. If you think about it, most audiences already know what you're going to talk about.

Either you're introduced or there is a program or there is a meeting, so there is an agenda, so people know what your topic is all about. 

The most interesting question to answer is the WHY question. Why are you there to talk about this topic and even more importantly, why is it important for the audience to listen to you.

Related: How to convince others

So my advice for you is to focus on the WHY question. Now how can you do that? I always advice people to focus on a story to begin their presentation. If you think about stories, stories begin with a time frame. 

Just like in fairy tales, they start with once upon a time... I'm not suggesting that you start your professional presentation with once upon a time. But you can start with a time frame.

Something like: Yesterday. Two weeks ago. Last year. Three months ago, etc. Now what's the kind of story that you can share then? Use real stories. It has to be something that happened to you. 

It has to be something that you heard. So you can refer to a conversation you had with a colleague. You can say something like: yesterday I had a conversation with... But then then there has to be a reason why you refer that conversation. 

And there is this linking sentence that I use in lots of presentations. I tell my story and then I continue saying: now why do I tell you this? Because my objective or my goal with this presentation is to... That's how you put it. 


So next time, use these stories to begin your presentation, link them to your goal and it will be so much more interesting to your audience because it will be crystal clear to them from the very first minute why it's important to them. 

On your next time presentation, focus on that WHY question and tell them a story.

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