How to start a presentation with impact and get engagement from the get-go is a question that anyone who delivers presentations has asked themselves in the past. The start of the presentation is seen by many ask the most important part of the overall presentation as this is where initial engagement is generated.
There are essentially 3 parts to a presentation - the start, the middle and the end. This article looks at how to get the maximum amount of engagement at the start of a presentation using a model or structure called INTRO. This will help you to understand how to start a presentation.
Why Structure the Start of Your Presentation?
Nerves can sometimes get the better of us when delivering a presentation, so knowing exactly how to start a presentation and what you are going to do in the first few minutes can help you reduce the amount of nervousness that you feel.
We also want to generate engagement immediately. The audience what to know quickly what the presentation is about and what they are going to get from it. If the beginning of your presentation is confused or not clear, the audience will quickly lose interest.
How to Start a Presentation
To help start your presentation and give it some structure, you can use something called the INTRO model. INTRO stands for Interest, Need, Title, Range, Objectives. Here is what it means and what to do at each stage.
The INTRO Model
The INTRO model is a 4 step structure to put together the start of your presentation. Here is what to do at each stage:
The first stage is to capture the audiences interest and attention. Think of something that you can do at the beginning of your presentation, for example, tell a story, use some statistics, show a short video clip or a powerful image. You want the audience to look at this our listen to what you have got to say and become captivated. Whatever you do must be linked to the overall content of the presentation.
Presenting yourself well is also something to consider here. You will need to think about your body language, tone of voice and the words you are going to use.
Why does your audience need to be there? What are the reasons why you have decided to do a presentation? This is one big reason why audiences don't engage with presentations - they don't always understand why they are there. Link the need to the interest and use statements such as 'and this is why we are here today'.
Give your presentation a title that is linked to the content. Sometimes avoiding the obvious can generate more interest. So for example 'A Presentation About Sales Figures' describes what you are about to present, but it's not engaging, creative or indeed linked to the outcomes of your presentation. Try something like 'How We Will Increase Our Sales This Quarter'.
Ensure you cover the range of topics or the agenda. Build on your interest and need and be sure to paint a picture of how your presentation will fit together and help with the need.
What are the objectives of the presentation? Help the audience understand what they will get from the presentation and take away with them. Start your objectives with a statement such as 'by the end of this presentation you will...' the create objectives for your presentation. Use words such as know, be able to, have the knowledge, understand etc. Let them see that there is some value to your presentation and the presentation is a good use of their time.
Structuring the start of your presentation can help with reducing nerves, increase your levels of confidence and engage the audience more quickly. It's worth taking the time to think about how to start a presentation to make sure your presentation is a success.
If you would like to learn more about how to start a presentation and presentation skills then a presentation Skills training course can help. Take a look at Presentation Skills Training from our training partner Revolution Learning and Development Ltd.