This is a review of a blog post by Craig Hadden, who blogs about presenting at Remote Possibilities. Craig is an instructional designer living in Sydney, Australia. Currently, the main tool he uses at work is Articulate Storyline. He loves “the way presenting is both a science and an art.” Craig has a Graduate Diploma in Computer-Based Learning.
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Craig’s post, “Start strong — 3 gripping ways to open your talk,” is important because people tune out quickly if they think your presentation will be boring or irrelevant. In fact, he starts his blog post strong. Here’s his early prescription for how to start your presentation:
“What’s the best way to start strong? Involve people emotionally! To do that, mention their hopes or fears surrounding your topic – while still being professional of course. That engages your audience because they’re drawn in at a gut level. And, it’s so different from the norm!”
In the professional world, people often try to strip their speech from all emotion, but everyone in your audience has emotions. They all feel something. Going a little deeper than they expect will certainly gain their attention. You just have to be careful not to damage people’s feelings.
Craig provides 3 suggestions for starting a presentation:
- Ask people to imagine a scenario involving risk or opportunity.
- Cite a startling statistic. (Yes, a number does draw people in emotionally, provided they find it startling.)
- Share a story or anecdote about success or failure (like in this example of being terrified before speaking).
It’s hard to give examples because every situation is different. You might be presenting to your peers, subordinates, or to executives. You might be presenting at a conference or to the public. Writers in the presentation industry sometimes make narrow assumptions about the type of presentations you do. Craig handles this situation by suggesting a specific situation of you presenting “to managers at your company about onboarding their new hires.” Then he gives 3 very specific examples of the exact words you could use to start your presentation using a scenario, a startling statistic, or a story.
To keep up with Craig’s posts (usually one per month), leave a comment below his post and check the “Notify me of new posts via email” check box at the bottom. He’s worth listening to!
Please leave a comment with an example of one of these types of openers that you have used or might use in the future. These suggestions will help others a lot. And please share this post with others using the Share buttons below.