The first minute of your presentation is crucial. During this short timeframe, your audience will begin to decide if you’re worth their attention. It’ll shape how the rest of your presentation will play out. Will you spend the next hour talking to a room full of people checking their phones for social media updates? Or are you going to be addressing an audience who are engaged, forming their own opinions on the information you’re sharing with them?
Consider these presentation tips to capture your audience right away:
1. Iron out the details of your presentation before you step up on the stage
People are able to tell if the person that’s about to present is unprepared. They’re fumbling with their notecards or clothes. They’re struggling to get the PowerPoint going. They’re clearing their throats before they even speak. Avoid these awkward scenarios for your presentation. The way to make a good first impression is by exuding confidence. Have every detail ironed out before you step up to the podium.
A few weeks before your presentation, you should have your PowerPoint presentation prepared. You should also practice how you will talk and move. Following that, just a few days before your presentation, plan what you’re going to wear. Make sure that you’ll look respectable, but still feel comfortable.
If you can, you should also take the time to familiarize yourself with the room you’re presenting in. Learn what equipment it has, so you don’t have to struggle with technical difficulties on the day of the presentation.
2. Open your presentation with something interesting
The next tip to make your 60 seconds count is by opening your presentation with a hook. This hook can be anything. You can tell a story, pose a thought-provoking question, or even tell a joke if you have a great sense of humor. Whatever you decide, make sure your hook works coherently with the body of your presentation. Also, consider how you’d feel if you were in the audience. What would be interesting to you?
3. Improvise when you need to
No matter how much you prepare, you can never account for what will happen in the future. Something could happen that will disrupt your crucial 60 seconds, and you need to remain calm in order to reel the situation back to your favor. It could be anything—a power outage, a heckler in the back of the room. Unless it’s a serious emergency, the best thing you can do is to improvise. Try to think of ways that the unexpected situation can work in your favor. Read up on a few improv techniques before your presentation, so you won’t feel lost when the moment strikes.
Featured Image: Ryan Hyde via Flickr