An effective start, an introduction of a lecture is at least as important to success as the key message itself, or the ending.
The purpose of the introductory sentences is to raise the audience’s curiosity and direct their attention to our topic. If you choose effective methods to start your speech, you are halfway through to get the audience interested and make them remember. By this you will make an impact on them. What could be your goal other than that?
But how can you make an impact, that is, how to start a presentation? Below we have summarized 10 easy-to-use, yet great ideas.
One of the best starting techniques. It is worth picking a quote that closely relates to the topic of your presentation. The audience is always captured by images, so you’d better show a photograph of the person quoted alongside the citation. You can browse quotes here and here.
Tell a story
Hopefully, you have been telling stories to in your childhood, so you may know that people are fond of listening to stories. Even adults. Storytelling is one of the most effective methods and helps you to get connected with your audience. Right at the beginning of your presentation, do tell a short story related to your topic. It can be funny, astonishing or educative. Audience will be mesmerised by you immediately, and they will also be curious about the end of the story.
Tell a personal story
It’s like storytelling, but now you are talking about yourself in a few sentences. This type of introduction is a bit more personal than a story told about someone else. You can speak about how yourself relate to what you talk about in the presentation, or how you got to become an expert on the topic. If you use this method, don’t be afraid to be too personal, just pick an example from your life. If you conclude it with a moral lesson, you can make an impact that is even greater.
Likewise, a story, an impressive video or short movie can be eye-catching, too. Make sure that the video is not too long, as it shouldn’t take the lead role from the major topic itself. Also in this case try to make it to be funny, astonishing, or emotionally touching.
Raise a question
Why not starting your presentation by asking a question? The benefit here is that you can get people to get involved in the topic, so they may start thinking about the answer. Thus, you can actually focus their thoughts in the direction you like. Of course, you are not expecting an answer to the question, it will be yourself who will answer it the next moment. It can also make an impact to pause a second or two after the question. Everyone will pay attention to the sudden silence!
Although we tend to find statistical data boring, if you use statistics at the beginning of your lecture that is shocking or surprising, it will undoubtedly have an eye-catching effect. Of course, it is important that the data relate to what you are up to say and it should introduce the topic. Remember to double-check the statistical data in a couple of sources to make sure they are correct!
Outline the future or possible solutions
You can also start by flashing the possible solutions, or consequences related to the topic. The only thing you need to use is “what if…?” sentences. As a result, the audience involuntarily will imagine what would happen if they took your advice. This tactic is also useful for involving them immediately and help them tune in to what you present.
Tell a joke
Some lecturers start their presentations with jokes. This tactic works well if you want to put the audience in a pleasant mood right away. Make sure that the joke is short and somehow related to the content of your presentation. However, it may not be the best idea to start with a joke if you don’t know the audience well and you are not sure what they expect from the lecture. You’d better take into consideration that with an unknown audience, you might hurt someone’s feelings. Telling too many jokes and humor can even suggest frivolity, so try and avoid it by all means.
Learn more about the drawbacks of using too many jokes here:
Summarize your topic
This method is also a simple but effective starting point to make an impact during your presentation. Begin by summarizing your key message. This way, the audience will immediately know what they may expect, in conclusion, their attention will be less distracted.
What has happened today?
There are websites where you can browse historical events that have taken place exactly the same day today. The list is usually long, so it’s easy to pick one. If you choose this method as a start, you can definitely catch the attention of the audience. This is worth using if you can relate the selected event to the topic of your presentation. You can find a page like that here, for instance.
If you try the tips above, you can make sure that you will captivate your audience at the beginning and they will look forward to your lecture. It is very important for you to be able to talk confidently and connect with them as soon as possible. An effective start will definitely help you with that to make an impact on your presentation.
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