5 Brilliant Ways to Begin Your Next Presentation

Darlene Price, president of Well Said Inc, shares tips for holding your audience's attention

(Image: Thinkstock)
(Image: Thinkstock)

When gearing up for your next big presentation, how do you plan to demand your audience’s attention, build credibility and motivate them to engage within the first 60 seconds? Some people opt to tell a joke or share an entertaining viral clip, but career blog site Levo League says this may not be the most effective way.

[Related: 7 Quick-Tips for Starting Your Company Off Strong]

According to the League, beginning a meeting with housekeeping details, a string of thank-yous, or a rambling, pointless paragraph littered with “ums” and “uhs,” encourages the minds of your audience to drift and you may not get them back.

“You need to put the art in the start, the most important part of the work,” says Darlene Price, president of Well Said, Inc., and author of “Well Said! Presentations and Conversations That Get Results.”

Here’s what Price suggests:

1. Tell a captivating story. Preferably about something people can relate to. “Of all the starters in your toolkit, storytelling is among the most powerful and consistently successful,” Price says. “As humans, we’re hard-wired to enjoy and learn from stories. From bedtime stories and campfires, to Broadway theaters and boardrooms—heroes, villains, conflict, plots, dialogue and lessons learned draw us in, remind us of our own lives, and holds our attention.”

Consider these questions when looking for a place to start: What challenges have you (or another) faced in relation to your topic? How did you (or another) overcome them? Who or what helped or harmed you? What lessons were learned? What do you want your audience to gain, feel, or do as a result of the story?

2. Ask a rhetorical, thought-provoking question. Levo says when crafted and delivered well, rhetorical questions influence an audience to believe in the position of the speaker. Prompt your audience to think deeply and spark curiosity.

3. State a shocking statistic or headline. Sometimes, a bold claim or interesting fact is all you need to gain control of the room.

4. Use a powerful quote. “Employ the wise words of a well-known person, because the name allows you to tap into his or her credibility, like-ability, and notoriety,” Price says. The quote must have meaning and relevance to the audience.

5. Show a gripping photo. A picture is worth a thousand words. “Use photos instead of text, when possible,” she suggests. A quality photo adds aesthetic appeal, increases comprehension, engages the audience’s imagination, and makes the message more memorable.

To read the rest of Price’s brilliant ways to begin a presentation, visit LevoLeague.com….