Getting people’s attention when you make a presentation

The moment to get people’s attention for your presentation is right at the beginning.

When is the last time you looked at an old film? How did it begin? If you don’t remember or you have never watched a film from the ‘40s or ‘50s, the first 4 or 5 minutes of most films started with the credits list. That’s a bit like watching paint dry.

How do films start today? The action usually begins immediately.

Today, people do not have the patience or the attention span to hear who you are, where you are from, your life history, what you are going to speak about… for 3 or 4  minutes before you start actually delivering the  information they came to hear about.

So, get going.  Start with action.  Start with a story.  Start with an Effective Opening.  Start straight away.  Today’s audiences expect you to get to the point "at the get go" = en el primer momento.

There are many ways you can do that. Here are two ways:

Start Your Presentation In Future Or Past

Many films use this technique in their opening scenes.   They start the scene in the distant past or far into the future. Then they connect it back to the main story and the present.  This is a great tool to grab the attention of the viewer, or a  presenter’s audience.  Marketers can use it by displaying market activity from the past to show how your strategies can impact performance.

Future looking: "30 Years from now, your job probably won't exist."

Looking back: "In 2004, Huawei,  sold its first mobile phone. That same year Nokia sold over 200 million. Last year Nokia sold 4.5 million mobile phones and Huawei sold over 200 million!"

Looking into the future or past always always generates interest and curiosity because our hearts frequently live there.

Tell a Story

Here's the amazing thing about stories: If your presentation is based solely on facts and statistics then your audience is going to react in one of two ways: 1) agree or 2) disagree. However, if you tell a story, your audience will participate with you. Stories have been known to increase audience retention by up to 26%.

Why wait? Experiment. Try something new. Step outside your comfort zone. You'll see some amazing results by trying any one of these techniques.

Rehearse, don’t memorise

Build your confidence and reduce your anxiety through practice. Remember there is a huge difference between being well-rehearsed and being wooden as you try to remember a script.

Rehearsed means you are prepared. It makes you confident. When you are prepared and confident, you can improvise if you need to. Because you know your stuff! Rehearse and make sure to include the key phrases and points; you’ll have to have a checklist of them. Avoid trying to memorise word by word. That pressure of trying to remember everything will only add to your anxiety!

The opening scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark anyone?