You never get a second chance to make a first impression.


You've undoubtedly heard this expression many times. It's especially true with a presentation.


If you are delivering any kind of message, the introduction portion of your presentation will be your audience's first impression - both of you and of what they're about to hear.


People's attention span is short and getting shorter - that's one reason the 140-character Twitter model works so well. Everyone's thinking about their next meeting, next project deadline, and multi-tasking - even if it's in their head.


So, if you don't give a powerful, compelling, engaging, or authoritative first impression - you might never get the audience's attention or your message across.


No surprise then that one of the most frequent questions we're asked during our presentation training sessions and one-on-one coaching is: "How do I design a super-strong introduction for my presentation?"


A skillful, carefully crafted introduction captures your audience's attention, provides a powerful lead-in to your talk, and sets the stage for you to connect with your audience members.


What elements should go into this knock 'em dead introduction? Here are four simple steps to introduction perfection:

  1. The Grabber. Seize your audience's attention right from word one with one of these tactics:

a. share a story or a shocking statistic

b. tell an interesting quote

c. use a rhetorical question carefully designed to make your audience think

d. ask a question directly of the audience, for which you do want an answer


      But remember, these ideas only make a strong grabber if they are directly related to your subject matter.


     2.  WIIFT?(What's In It For Them?) Do you know what they want to get from your presentation? What's their goal in attending? If you don't, you might easily lose your audience members, no matter how interesting or well put-together your presentation is. Try imagining your audience members with thought bubbles over their heads that say, "So what? Why do I need to know this? Why should I care?" Make sure you know the answers to those questions, and you tell them - right up front.   


      3. Source Credibility: Your audience members need to know why they should trust you.  So, share your background and experience with the audience as it relates to your subject matter. If they already know you, or you have been introduced, you can skip this step.


       4. The Preview: The goal is to manage the expectations of your audience and get them excited about what you'll be talking about. You can either specifically list your key points or give them the general direction of your presentation -- be sure to include when you will take any questions.


By using these four steps you can create a powerful introduction that sets the tone for your whole presentation. Learn More about BRODY's Powerful Presentation Skills training and coaching. Or, to receive a proposal for a presentation skills training initiative or coaching solution, Contact Us.