A recent question asked in a social media group of speakers was what is the most important part of a talk. For me, ONE of the important parts that you really want to prepare well for is your introduction. You want to get the attention of your audience right from the get-go.
If you don’t get the attention of some people at the beginning, you might never get them to listen to the important points you want to cover in the body of your talk.
The people you want to gain the attention of are the people that need to know WHY!
If people don’t know why they are listening to you, it can be really easy to tune-out, or worse be confused as to why they are even there – are you worth listening to?
Plus having a well-prepared intro that has the audience at hello can make a big impact on the rest of your presentation.
There are a couple of ways you can do this yourself.
1. A statement that explains what you are talking about and why that is so important to the audience.
Example: A speaker talking about marketing might say “I will be showing you 3 ways to market your business so that you can go out and build your business and profits.”
What benefits do your audience want to get that will pique their interest to listen to you?
2. Ask your audience questions that they are guaranteed to say ‘yes’ to. These questions are focused on what they need or want – and is relevant to the answers you will be providing during your talk.
Example: A speaker promoting fitness or good diet might ask “Who here would love to have more energy.”
3. A story that illustrates the importance of your message – this could be a case study and it could either demonstrate what happens if do the ‘wrong’ thing, or what happens when it goes right – or perhaps it’s one of those stories of 2 friends who follow the 2 different paths.
Example: I was speaking for safety program just over a year ago and I dramatised an example of an aviation tragedy where hundreds of lives were lost when the usually safe pilot was swayed from normal protocol. I wanted to make the point that accidents happen when we think differently about safety.
It definitely got the attention of the audience. Just what you want when you start a presentation.
Give some thought to how you are going to start your presentation with impact. You can save introducing your name, thanking everyone for being there and other fillers for after the intro – once you have their attention.
By the way, if you are going to start your talk with a joke, it better be funny!!
What’s your favourite way to have your audience at hello?