A new study released by Microsoft shows that humans now have attention spans shorter than a goldfish! This makes it even more important to capture your audience’s attention with the first words of your presentation.
The old-fashioned “Good evening ladies and gentlemen” isn’t enough any more. You need and introduction that will surprise them, intrigue them or inspire them.
Here are 7 different ways to grab the audience’s attention with your introduction.
Storytelling is an important human communication tool that has been used since the beginning of time. Your audience will be naturally interested to find out what happens at the end of your story once you start telling it. The story doesn’t even need to be a true story, you begin by saying “What if we lived in a world…” or “Imagine…”. The important thing is that the story should be directly relevant to your key message and link nicely to the rest of your introduction.
This is another popular way to start a presentation. A couple of things to keep in mind: 1. Try to use an uncommon quote so that it will be more memorable and unique. 2. Memorise the quote. It is much more effective when you can recite a quote from memory, especially if you are using it as your first sentence.
Involve the audience, ask them a question. This question can be rhetorical or you can get the audience to give verbal feedback. Most importantly, make sure you use the most important word in speaking!
Statement (a controversial one)
Shock the audience! Surprise the audience! Take a controversial view or share a lesser known fact. For instance, you could start by stating that chocolate is better than sex. Some members of the audience will maybe agree with you already, but others may not. Next support your argument with persuasive facts and anecdotes, so that you can convince that you are right. The audience members who agree with you will be happy to listen to someone they agree with. Those that disagree will be listening closely to point out any flaws in your arguments.
Similar to when you begin your presentation with a statement, you can also surprise or shock your audience with a statistic. For example, stating 50% of children who drown do so in sight of their parents, and then going on to give a presentation about water safety. Be careful not to overload your presentation with statistics, otherwise none of them will be memorable.
More unusual openings
As they say, picture is worth a thousand words, so why not start your next speech with one? Make sure the quality of the image is good and that the entire audience will be able to see your image well. A video can work as well. It doesn’t have to be a video of you or even have sound. Just choose something you think will cause the audience to be curious.
You can even open with only body language. You could begin telling a story through gestures. Or you may want to show a certain facial expression to show an emotion.