The Impact of Your Opening on Your Audience

If you have an important presentation coming up, it’s a good idea to spend plenty of time preparing your opening. It’s a known fact that people will form judgments about you within the first few seconds, making the opening one of the most crucial components of any presentation. If you don’t capture your audience’s attention right away, you risk losing them before you’ve even begun. 

What is the Purpose of an Introduction?

The purpose of an introduction is to engage the audience and tell them why they should be listening to you. Your introduction acts like your first impression, giving you a chance to connect with your audience and make a positive impact. Your introduction should do three things:

  1. Hook the audience with a strong opening statement
  2. Answer the question “what’s in it for them?â€
  3. Establish your credibility as the speaker

Now that we know the purpose of an introduction, let’s take a look at how to create an effective opening. 

Start with a Bang

The first few seconds of your presentation are critical so you don’t want to waste them. To make an impact, you want to start off with a bang. You can capture attention with a surprising statistic, a thought-provoking question, or a powerful quote. Whatever you choose, remember to be bold, creative, and build anticipation about what will come next.

Tell a Story

People love stories and they are a great way to engage your audience and connect with them on a deeper level. The most powerful stories are usually those drawn from personal experiences, but it could also include powerful stories from history or someone else’s life. You just want to make sure they are relevant to your topic. When told well, a story is a great way to make an impact at the start of your presentation.

Use a Powerful Visual

Perhaps you start with a powerful photograph or image that peaks audience interest and makes them think. As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words†so don’t underestimate the power of imagery. 

Interact with Your Audience

You want your audience to feel like they are part of your presentation and not just passive listeners. You can involve them in your presentation by asking a provocative question or taking a poll. Not only does it get them thinking about the main point of your presentation, but it makes them feel involved and brings a unique energy to the room.