It is worth spending as much time on that minute as the next five combined.
Here are three ways to make the perfect start:
– Surprise them: You don’t need a song and dance routine but any opportunity to break free from the typical corporate opening is to be encouraged. An impactful quote or slide can work well, but make sure it is relevant to your core message.
– Build up the benefits: Try to focus on the end benefit of your presentation at the start. If you’re selling software then surprise them in minute one by demonstrating concisely and memorably how it will change their businesses and lives for the better.
– Make it word perfect: Know your introduction off by heart – this is not the time to be glancing at your notes, or wondering what comes next. You have one chance to create an impression and should not appear uncertain or unprepared.
And five things to avoid:
– Long introductions about yourself and your business: This serves little purpose to an audience who’ve already read your biography in the seminar handout or delegate list.
– False compliments or sentiments: They don’t need to know how happy you are to be there and how kind they are to take the time to listen to you.
– Apologies: Unless you are late, never begin with an apology. They don’t want to know you’re nervous, are new to the job, or that you have a sore throat.
– Complaints: You’re wasting time and irritating your audience if you complain about the temperature of the room, the AV set up or the noise outside the room.
– Weak jokes: A natural reaction for a nervous speaker is to try to ‘befriend’ the audience by beginning with a joke. But humour is hard to pull off and can easily offend people if done poorly.
Remember, everything you put into your introduction will help keep the rest of the presentation and speech on track. If you’re still unsure where to start or how to get your speech or presentation off the ground, please give me a call on +44 (0)20 8245 8999.