Your very first moments with your audience set the tone for the entire presentation.These are the moments during which your audience members try and figure out if they’re in for an interesting and worthwhile presentation or yet another boring, life draining presentation.
That’s why we call these first moments your “Grace Period”.
Think about it like you would about a first impression with a person – only this time, it’s with an audience.
Use these moments wisely and you’ll have their undivided attention from the very start + they will be much more likely to remember you in a positive way long after the presentation is over. That’s why powerful openings are so important.
Now there are several methods of constructing a winning Grace Period:
1. One way is through story telling – usually a personal story you share with your audience that establishes your credibility while also laying the ground work for you presentation’s key messages.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be a personal story. You can also start with an engaging and inspiring anecdote relating to a well-known figure. Whichever option you chose, make sure you can clearly link it to the main topic of your presentation.
2. Another way to kick off with a powerful opening is with an impressive statistic. Just get up and present it, dramatically – even before you say “Good evening” or introduce yourself. As before, make sure this statistic clearly related to the heart of the topic you will be discussing.
3. You can also start with an impactful and inspiring quote. If you chose this option, take care to focus not only on the content of the quote, but also on the relevance of the person you are quoting. Be sure you can link the quote clearly to your topic and key messages.
There are certainly more ways to kick off a presentation powerfully and in a way that captures the audience’s attention (and imagination) right from the start. But these are a great start if you haven’t been doing so until now.
Now, before you run off to build your next presentation’s Grace Period, keep in mind that although your Grace Period is the first thing you open your presentation with, it is actually the last component of your presentation that you should build. Be sure to complete the formulation of your presentations core content before you start working on your Grace Period – that way you can be sure that whichever way to choose to kick off your presentation, it’s closely and clearly linked to the core essence of your presentation.
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