Your overall presentation depends on your introduction.
Before you proceed to your actual content, keep in mind that the first three minutes are crucial: your introduction can either connect or distance you from your audience.
The message you want to convey can be affected if your opening can’t catch their attention.
Develop a Sense of Belonging
First, create a sense of belonging among your audience.
Don’t alienate them with jargon-filled rambling or stiff delivery. Encourage them to warm up to you right off the bat by creating a relatable image. Tell a story to ease any lingering tension, or start with a quote or anecdote that’s directly related to your pitch.
Let these be the takeaways to your main points. Intimidating the audience with an austere environment will only push them farther away from you.
Develop a catchy and memorable introduction to get their attention before you discuss the content.
Establish Eye Contact
Looking directly at your audience gives them the impression that you’re interested.
Separating yourself from other people through not only your speech, but also your body language, is not only suspicious but also makes you look like an unreliable source. Commanding attention means connecting with your listeners not only through speech but in your physical presence as well.
Glancing at them one by one is not necessary, but at least build and maintain eye contact with groups of individuals. This will build rapport with them.
Answer the Audience’s Hidden Questions
Why am I here?
Maximize the first three minutes of your business presentations by including the benefits that your listeners can get from your subject. Briefly mention the most important points to give them an overview of your core message. Your purpose is to give them reasons to listen and take actions, not just to sit for nothing.
Some members might not notice that they have these questions in their head, but the best way to address this is to practice all the above reminders. If you answer their questions positively, you’ll achieve their expectations.
Tell a Story
Nothing beats the power of storytelling.
Aside from the actual content, you can structure your content with a definite hook, line, and sinker. Since we’re still discussing the introduction, use it to build up the meat of your discussion. Pique your audience’s interests with something that they can relate to and leave them wanting more.
Personal stories will help ground you in people’s eyes, and make them more inclined to listen to you. Don’t be afraid to let your human side show in front of them in the form of these stories. People are more inclined to listen to someone who understands them, so make them feel that in your opener.
Applying these tips will help you get over your anxiety of not making a good impression.
Your goal is to entice your audience with a powerful and striking introduction.
If you fail to do this, you’ll have a harder time making them listen to the rest of your presentation. Make those first three minutes count.
“How to Take Tough Questions Like a Presentation Expert.” SlideGenius, Inc. July 16, 2015.
“Fine-tuning Your Presentation’s Core Message.” SlideGenius, Inc. November 11, 2014. Accessed May 6, 2015.
“The First 3 Minutes – How to Quickly Connect with Your Live Audience.” Appirio. April 29, 2014. Accessed May 6, 2015.