Posted 09 Mar 2012

We've all been there before: staring at the glow of your blank computer screen with no idea on how to open or start your talk. We’ve come up with five helpful ways to open a presentation:

 

Use silence

Most people won’t be able to pull this off very easily! Say a few words then be quiet. Say a few more words then be quiet. It’s a quick and easy way to own the room. Just make sure you can hold your composure!

 

Point to the future or the past

The reality is that looking into the future or past always sparks engagement since that’s where our hearts live!

 

Quote Someone

The easiest way to open a talk is simply to quote someone. Think about that last presenter you heard when they opened their talk with a quote from Albert Einstein or Napoleon. A quote equals instant credibility.

 

Share something extraordinary

Is my life going to be improved because I know how many times a bee's wings flaps in a second? No. Is it crazy interesting? Yes.

 

Tell a story

Here's the amazing thing about stories: If your presentation is based solely on facts and stats then your audience is going to react in one of two ways: 1) agree or 2) disagree. However, if you tell a story, your audience will participate with you. Still not sold? Stories have been known to increase audience retention by up to 26%.

 

You’ve been asked to do a group presentation and don’t know where to start. We’ve come up with 6 tips for improving group presentations:

 

Hook the audience at the beginning

Every good speech entices the listener at the beginning of the speech. A group speech is no different. The introduction matters.

 

Introduce the team

Somewhere in the introduction, the cast of characters presenting should be introduced.

 

Write transitions

Everytime members of the team switch into a speaking role, the speech should include a coordinated transition. Something simple might work: “Next, Emily will discuss the financial piece of this event.”

 

Move

The speaker should take center stage or a position in the foreground of the delivery area. Other members should flank the speaker by being visually “behind” the speaker

 

Pay attention to each other

There’s nothing that inspires audience boredom like presenter boredom. If you’re not the speaker, but you’re on the team, at least feign interest. Watch the speaker, respond nonverbally to the speaker. This sets the tone for how your audience will view the speaker and his/her information.

 

Practice

Rehearse the speech together at least three times. You should be able to predict the moves of your co-presenters to forgo the awkward stares at each other when someone misses a cue.

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