Introduction | Message | Audience | Structure | Physical Aspects | Psychological Aspects

Contact with the audience

In the beginning | During the session

Start

One of the most important parts of your presentation is the very beginning. Take some time in advance and think of an original and memorable introduction. The following questions may help you to find the right kick-off for your session:

  1. What does your audience want from your session?
  2. What do you consider the easiest way for your audience to relate to the topic?
  3. What kind of beginning do you like?
  4. What do you think your audience needs? Have they been listening to others before? Are they tired? Are they lacking interest so far?

Here a selection of initial attention getters:

  • Tell a story: This is a good way to keep the attention of the audience during the entire presentation. By telling a short story at the beginning you open a live metaphor that you can always go back to during the entire presentation.
    • “Had you asked 10 years ago anything about menstrual hygiene, I most likely would have blushed and not been able to say a word. The challenge of researching on it gave me the chance to overcome my personal embarrassment. Years have passed and I have talked to so many people about it; including Catholic priests. Although I am comfortable now to talk about the topic, I will never forget how big of a deal it was to me initially. Therefore, I do understand every person who is shy talking about it and I consider it essential to create an atmosphere of trust and comfort to allow for this topic being discussed. The more I feel the need to leave everyone the space necessary to address the topic. If this is not wished for, I respect this.”
  • Ask the audience: Start with some questions. Call the personal experience of the people, let them identify with the content of your presentation or just examine their level of knowledge about a certain topic.
    • What is your experience so far with the topic?
    • How would you explain the problem this session is dealing with?
    • Why is the audience interested in the topic?
    • What does the audience expect of the presentation?
  • Use presentation media: Start with a video, a song or a photo.
  • Handout & discussion: Give away some informational brochures that you’ve printed out in advance and organize a short opening discussion
  • Provoke:
    • Drop candy on the stage and call the audience to come and get them. Usually people would need some time to reach and pick it up. Award the first one who dared to stand up with the banknote and start talking about pro-activeness, initiative etc.
  • Who are you?
    • Highlight the most interesting points of your background (of course, the ones connected to the topic). The advantage of this method is that you are not only telling a personal story but you also introduce yourself to the audience and help them connect the content of the presentation with your background.
  • Silence: A trick for more experienced speakers. Stand in front, let the audience get quiet and keep the silence for at least 30 more seconds. If used well, this method can win you the respect of the audience from the very beginning.
  • Attract the audience’s attention with the title of your presentation, speech etc…
    • Wyda – the Celts’ yoga
    • Nespresso “What else?”

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