Presenters often ask how to start a presentation.
I have an older post, “A good opener/introduction” in which I cover ways to start a presentation and it gets a huge amount of traffic and comments — mostly questions by people wanting to know how to start their presentation.
In this post, I want to cover a general principle. Start your presentation BIG.
The Whirlpool Galaxy. Source: Hubblesite.org
Yes, you need to start with an attention getter — a question, a story, or a surprising fact — as I mention in that older post. But as soon as you get down to your content, think of the big idea, the big conclusion, the larger context.
Don’t start with details. People’s eyes glaze over and they slump in their chairs.
Why start BIG?
When you start with the overall concept, you give people context. They need to be able to relate what you’ll say to other things that they know. They need to understand why your message is important to them and you help them do that when you give them the big picture.
This is how the brain works — we need to connect new knowledge to existing knowledge.
Here are some ideas for expressing the BIG picture:
- Explain why you came to do this presentation. What was the problem? What is the audience’s need?
- Discuss the context in your industry, in current research, in the economy — whichever context is relevant.
- Start with your conclusions — an executive overview, the summary of benefits, the bottom line
How much BIG do you need?
The BIG can be short — that’s right, you only need a little BIG! Just enough to give people a handle, a foundation to move forward. That foundation will help people buy into your proposition and feel comfortable with the new material you’ll cover.
You’ll be more persuasive. People will be more likely to apply the information you give them.
How do you start BIG? Leave a comment and share your BIG ideas!
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