How To Start Your Presentation

This is something I have recently been talking about in my Facebook Group – How To Speak With…..

There are 3 key things you need to consider when putting together a presentation, which will all help you to decide how to start it.

Whether you are doing a presentation on Facebook Live, on stage or at a board meeting, the first thing to say on this subject is to start with the end in mind. What are you going to ask them to do at the end?

You will either be Selling or Motivating in a presentation and even motivating is a kind of selling.

If you are selling you might be selling a product, service, opportunity or idea – something for people to buy or buy into or to do. That might be signing up for something, buying a book at the back of the room, getting in touch, following you on social media, or booking onto your next event.

Or, you want to motivate them to do something that generally involves changing their beliefs. So maybe they now believe they CAN – give up smoking or lose weight. Maybe they now believe they can start a business or save the planet or give blood.

So – if you know what the endpoint is then it makes planning the route much easier. The content you are going to include in your presentation – must inexorably take people towards the endpoint, or else it can be clipped and stay on the cutting room floor.

The second thing you need to consider is – Who Is Your Audience?

I remember going to an event run by Steven Green, called Strength to Succeed, up in Newcastle, and the audience was not my usual one. This was an audience of men and women, ex-forces, and people who were potentially depressed or living with someone with depression.

Knowing that and knowing the endpoint I wanted to get them to (changing beliefs about what was possible for them) made me realise I not only needed to change my opening, but also my whole presentation and the offering itself.

Now I am not saying you have to create a new offering for every audience you speak to – after all, usually you will be speaking to an audience you choose to speak to. The point is – if you know your audience and you know your endpoint, then you can choose what you offer them or what get them to do.

The third important factor is – How are you actually going to get their attention? Most people start with Hello I’, Cheryl how are you today? (Well – clearly, they don’t all say ‘Cheryl’ but you get my drift). That is SUCH a waste of 10 seconds of everybody’s life. PLEASE PLEASE – don’t do that. You should, as a matter of course, be getting someone to introduce you – so it is unnecessary. OR they already know you because you are speaking to your own tribe. Either way – don’t do it.

Start with something that grabs their attention.

Now in my Sensational Speaker Positioning Program I teach a module called The Confident Conversation Script, and a sub-element of that is The Complete Conversation Grabber. This module explains that there are 4 ways to start a conversation, or a presentation, or a TEDx, or a Facebook Live, etc.

How can you support them?

What I mean by this is – how will they benefit from this talk? I used the example when talking this through in my group, of one of our members Alison, who coaches people in the hospitality industry to increase turnover and profits – even in this current Pandemic.
So, you could use something like Alison’s, “How would you like to make 100k in less than 6 months?” This is a great WIIFM question. Most people are only interested in What’s In It For Me, and so if you can get to the point quickly, it will make them prick up their ears and pay attention.

How can you seduce them?

What I mean by this is you can tease them. You can point to what you WILL be talking about later in the presentation which will, therefore, hold their interest right now. For example, (and using the same idea as above):-
“In a moment I am going to tell you how you can improve your income by 100k in 6 months, but first let me tell you about……..”
This keeps them listening as they really want to hear how you can help them make 100k in 6 months!

Do a Survey

What I am talking about here is to start with a question where they have to get involved. That is, it’s not a rhetorical question. For example: –
“Raise your hand if you’d like to make a 100k in 6 months”. Of course, if this is an online presentation like a webinar or a Facebook Live, then you can substitute raise your hand with – “Give me a heart” or “Type yes in the comments”.

Shock them

Saying something controversial, something they didn’t know, or something disturbing, again will make them sit up and pay attention, particularly if it could directly affect them. So if you are talking to an audience of hoteliers you could say:-
“Did you know that 90% of hotel businesses are failing since the pandemic started? So how would you like to be in the 10% that not only survive but thrive and are increasing their income by 100k or more in 6 months? Well, that’s what I am going to be sharing over the next 30/60/90 minutes…..?”

I used this shock tactic when speaking to the audience I mentioned above.

My opening to that band of ex-forces personnel was “Raise your hand if you have ever had a really, really, REALLY great orgasm”. It certainly made them sit up and listen (and laugh – which broke the sombre mood). It also differentiated me from most speakers they would have heard that day (or any other day). And I knew it wouldn’t offend them. Ex services men and women are not easily offended.

Now in my group, I set people a challenge that they would get feedback on – from me and from other people in the group. And the challenge was this.

1. Decide your audience.
2. Decide what you want to talk about
3. Decide what you want them to do at the end!
4. Use one (or more) of the 4 openings above and do a FB Live in the group.

Well, there were some really great attempts, and you can watch a video of my feedback on those here. In fact, why don’t you join in the fun? Join the group – How To Speak With… and join in our regular challenges and get some feedback on your efforts.

It is a supportive, non-judgmental group, and it is also the place that I put my event dates and offer first, so come and join us, and learn how to Be Seen, Be Heard and Be YOU!

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