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Developing an Introduction for Your Business Presentations

Introductions are crucial parts of business presentations, capturing the crowd’s attention before the presenter proceeds to his main topic. Your introduction should fulfill two purposes: to win your audience’s attention and clarify your topic and purpose.

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Favorable Attention Step

Communicologist Eugene White (1960) suggested the following tips on how to receive favorable attention:

  • Point out your subject’s significance to raise the stakes and demonstrate how your topic affects important factors. Attaching a sense of urgency to your presentation, directly or indirectly, makes your audience listen intently.
  • Use pleasantry, wit, and humor. This is a classic oratory flourish of master presenters who entertain while informing listeners.
  • Make a stimulating statement, refer to a famous quotation, or ask a provocative question to stimulate thoughtfulness and curiosity.
  • Mention common bonds with your listeners. People like speakers they can relate with. Bring out mutual traits, beliefs, life experiences, and goals to build the common ground between you and your listeners.
  • Pay the crowd a sincere compliment. A happy crowd is a crowd that listens.

Using one or a combination of the previous methods can guarantee you total audience engagement.

Clarification Step

After you have their eyes and ears, connect your opener with what you actually need to say. Clarify and link your introduction to your main topic with the following tricks:

  • State your speech’s point or purpose. Directly referring to your intentions immediately connects your introduction to your objectives and to your whole presentation.
  • Explain how you plan to develop your topic to give your audience a clue on your presentation’s length. This prepares them to gauge the amount of time you’ll be taking.
  • Provide necessary preliminary definitions and explanations especially if your topic requires a technical approach. When dealing with a lot of unavoidable jargon, get it out of the way before proceeding.

This phase acts as a transition that guides your listeners’ initial curiosity into rapt attention. You can’t simply jump from attention-grabbing straight into your presentation’s main body.

Tying Them Together

When used in conjunction, these two processes make for effective introductions that attract and engage while keeping in line with your message and purpose. They’re like a one-two punch combination, where you set up and measure the range before dealing the most significant blow.

Open your discussion with a favorable attention step that suits your audience, occasion, and topic. Afterwards, ease your listeners into the body of your speech by proceeding to the clarification step.

Conclusion

A well-designed deck and a well-planned presentation fall flat without an effective introduction for a lead-in.

Always begin by getting your audience’s attention. Raise the stakes, use humor, ask provocative questions, sympathize with your audience, or pander to them. Then, cap off the introductory stage by clarifying the connections between your main topic and your introduction. This way, you get an engaging and memorable opener that makes sure your listeners are all eyes and ears for you.

Practice crafting this part to hook your audience right from the beginning.

Need help refining your business presentation? Contact our presentation experts now and receive a free quote!

 

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References

Introductions: 5 Creative Ways to Start Your Presentation.SlideGenius, Inc. November 30, 2014.
The Role of the Introduction.” Boundless. Accessed July 20, 2015.
White, Eugene. Practical Speech Fundamentals. New York: The McMillan Co, 1960.

3 Acronyms to Attack Business Investment Presentations

So you’ve founded a start-up and are looking for investors to keep the ball rolling. You’re filled with confidence at this new, ground-breaking business proposal.

They just can’t say no.

…right?

Underestimating how much you need to prepare to ace investment preparations means you’ll fail. You can’t simply stroll in and blow people’s minds with your brilliant idea.

Starting to feel nervous?

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Here are three easy-to-remember acronyms to sail through that pitch.

T.A.

T.A. stands for Target Audience. Getting a beat on your potential investors should be the first thing on your to-do list.

We’ve previously discussed the importance of having good objectives that guide your presentation. For effective objectives, have a well-defined target audience.

Preparing an investment pitch doesn’t only mean narrowing down who benefits from your product or service. Zero in on who your investors could be.

Granted, you may not have easily-accessible information on who they are. Don’t be afraid to make educated guesses when your standard search engine results turn up with nil.

Take some tips from Sticky Marketing Club CEO, Grant Leboff, and examine your company and the market you want to enter before casting out the net.

Look for possible needs and wants they may have, then formulate questions or concerns they might bring up. This allows you to plan ahead with answers to best alleviate their worries. This also lets you highlight positives that they can relate with while spinning negatives that can turn them off.

Planning your pitch without even knowing who you’ll be talking to seals your start-up in a coffin.

U.S.P.

Now that you know who you’re selling to, define a specific niche your proposed solution intends to fill.

Before you write your speech, define your U.S.P. – Unique Selling Proposition. This idea was first developed by ad expert Rosser Reeves in his book “Reality in Advertising (1961),” stating that its uses were:

  1. to offer a valuable proposition.
  2. to demonstrate a quality that can’t be offered by a competitor, and
  3. be a strong and catchy “hook” to draw in new customers or investors.

It also helps to have a U.S.P. that can afford you a competitive advantage that’s sustainable for the near future – a characteristic that’s not easily copied or improved upon.

Don’t make these benefits up, as unsubstantiated claims can get you in trouble, or even make you lose investors.

Whatever the case, knowing your U.S.P. easily tells your audience two things: why they should care and how you can make their life easier.

C.A.P.

Be confident, assertive, and passionate. These three are all important virtues in any presentation that are your linchpin to success.

Dressing the part and proper body language gives you the confidence to win the crowd over.

Having firm and specific objectives allows you to focus your pitch, imparting a more assertive and persuasive tone.

Relay memorable personal stories that tie into your message to make for an impassioned speech.

Go beyond describing a business model with limitless potential. Why would an audience trust a presenter lacking in conviction? Believing in your product makes you sell your product.

Your audience is looking for an investment that’s poised profit financially.  Be worthy of their time, money, and trust.

Summing It Up

Investment presentations can be the most nerve-wracking of all the business opportunities.

Keep those fears in check with a proven three-pronged approach to get the best result from your pitch. All you need are three simple acronyms: T.A., U.S.P., and C.A.P.

Know who you’re selling to, what unique benefit you’re selling, and pitch with the confidence of a master presenter.

Are you in need of a deck to match your business proposal? Boost your chances by contacting our presentation experts for a free quote!

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References

Belch, G., & Michael A. Belch. Advertising and Promotion: An Integrated Marketing Communications Perspective. 5th ed. Boston, Mass.: Irwin/McGraw-Hill, 2001.
Leboff, Grant. “Six Steps to Defining Your Target Market.” Marketing Donut. Accessed June 16, 2015.
Making S.M.A.R.T. PowerPoint Presentation Goals.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed June 16, 2015.
Reeves, R. Reality in Advertising. New York: Knopf, 1961.

 

Featured Image: “Wallis046 Fish Fork” by Gordon McDowell on Wikimedia Commons