10 Tips on How to Start a Presentation with Impact

10 Tips on How to Start a Presentation with Impact

We all know that first impressions are the most important. That’s why there’s so much information around about how to start something. But to know how to start a presentation with impact, we need to understand the art of beginnings.

In this article, I’ll outline 10 tips on how to start a presentation with impact, and show you that good beginnings to a story are so much more than just first impressions.

Figure Out Your Hook

Wherever you look, someone is talking about hooks. Writers need to hook their audience in the first few sentences of an article or a book. Filmmakers need to incite interest in the first few scenes. Presenters need to hook their audience in the first few lines after the introduction… or during the introduction … or before.

As you can see, it really doesn’t matter where you put the hook in your PowerPoint presentation. Just make sure it’s somewhere in the beginning, in the first 5 slides. But the most important part when learning how to start a presentation with impact is to figure out your hook.

If it doesn’t matter where it comes in your presentation, how do you know what is it? What separates it from other aspects of the beginning, like, say introduction? What should it look like? In order to find out, ask yourself: What’s the most exciting thing I’m trying to say? Then, come up with a bold statement to sum it up. You can read more about the importance of controversial and unapologetic statements in Slideshare’s article TED Talk Takeaways: 8 Ways to Hook Your Audience.

Or, if there’s a quote that already explained it for you, feel free to use it. Whatever it is, make sure it stands out and illustrates the core of your message.

If at the beginning of your presentation you say something controversial or out of the box, people will want to stick around to see how you explain that. It’s exciting to hear someone have such an outrageous outlook on a subject. It makes us want to stick around to see if we’ll adopt that outlook by the end. This, of course, depends on the presenter.

Start with lighter Slides

Over-burdening your slides at any point during your PowerPoint presentation is a bad idea. But, even if you need to convey a lot of information in a slide, avoid doing it at the beginning.

The first slide should contain nothing but the title of your presentation, and maybe your name and contact details. When you start, let what you say introduce them to the presentation. Slides should really be very short and concise. They should briefly outline what you’ll be talking about, in no more than 3-4 bullet-points per slide.

What you say must also be short and to-the-point. Don’t invest in detail. Invest in making the small amount of detail you shared sound exciting.

Know What to Omit

The key to a balanced start of your PowerPoint presentation is determining what to omit. Beginnings are about exciting new journeys. Your job is to understand that not everything you wish to say will end up in the presentation. Let alone in the beginning.

The key rule on how to start a presentation with impact is to understand that beginnings are about enticing attention, not giving all the details straight away. Do include stories, anecdotes, questions and quotes to illustrate the basics of your message. Avoid long and boring introduction about the details of the business.

Create an Outline

One of the most important rules on how to start a presentation with impact is knowing how the rough draft will look like. Ideally, you should have the whole presentation figured out before deciding how you’ll begin. Starting strong is all about having the confidence about where you’ll go from there. Creating an outline will make you start with intent. When you know your whole presentation, you know exactly what that introduction you’re giving is leading up to.

A great outline helps you know how much information you’re dealing with. It will help you know exactly what to put in those bullet points at the beginning slides. It will also help your audience do the same. Being genuine with your audience is important when it comes to successful PowerPoint presentations. It’s especially important to be upfront with your audience about what they’ll be hearing about.

Create a comprehensive list of big topic segments you’ll cover. Then, add subcategories. Once you do all that, It’ easy to craft a perfect introduction with bullet-points.

Start with an analogy

Often times, people don’t want to listen to what they came to listen to. If it’s work related, chances are people are needing to put effort into listening to you. But in an ideal setting, this wouldn’t happen.

Because people don’t want to be hit with a lot of hard information from the start, talk about something more relatable. Something that might be funny, or interesting, or heart-warming. And then, relate it to your subject.

This can be anything, from a personal story to a wise proverb. Anything that you can relate to your subject that gives it depth and intrigue. It’s important to let people have a break at the beginning of your PowerPoint presentation. Hearing something that doesn’t sound like work jargon, but like content they’d consume in their free time is welcome.

Take time to Introduce Yourself

If you want to know how to start a presentation with impact, you must invest in your introduction.

If you want to know how to start a presentation with impact, you need to learn about the art of self-expression. This will change your outlook on what your PowerPoint introduction should look like. Expressing yourself is more than just stating your name and company. That’s why your introduction should showcase your personality. You might like our article on how to display your individual personality in a presentation.

The introduction should take up 10-15% of your PowerPoint presentation. This is because the audience needs time to adjust to receiving all the information. Take care to introduce yourself in an engaging way, so that the audience feels they aren’t missing important information in the beginning, while still settling. And only after that, introduce your subjects in a neat and comprehensive way.

Be Interactive

One of the greatest tips on how to start a presentation with impact is to ask questions.

Asking questions is a great way to trick your audience into thinking about the subject before introduction. This naturally makes them more receptive to what you have to say. When people are asked for input, they naturally want to consider the subject more carefully. And after they’ve considered it, they want to stay and hear whether they were right. That’s when you hit them with your answer.

Or, in case someone managed to guess, continue to engage with them. Ask how they came to that conclusion. Encourage the rest of the audience to participate in the discussion.

Be Genuine

When you begin your PowerPoint presentation, makes sure to be straight with the audience. This means that the number one rule on how to start a presentation with impact is by letting the audience know what they’re in for. Introduce with the same tone you will use through your PowerPoint presentation. Don’t start on a serious note and then adopt a casual tone all of a sudden.

Introduce the subjects you’ll really be talking about. Explain your bullet-points briefly. Make sure they know what’s coming. If at the beginning you set certain expectations, make sure to follow them through. You need to find the perfect balance between intriguing them and introducing just enough boring detail so that they know it’s coming at some point. Yes, you need to hook your audience at the beginning. But if you start with a stand-up routine in a presentation all about the stock market, no-one will have fun. In the end, everyone will be disappointed. This is why you should be reasonable with what you promise at the start of your PowerPoint presentation. It’s not always about sweeping the audience off their feet at every cost!

Use Slides Wisely

What your first slide looks like is very important. Knowing how to hook your audience visually is one of the most important tips on how to start a presentation with impact and clarity.

First, make sure you have a title slide. Use visuals to create a conceptual image of what your presentation is about. It’s a good idea to have your first slide have a background image. For more title slide design ideas, visit Slideshare’s 20 Designs for Title Slides in PowerPoint.

Outlining your topic segments is something you should learn if you want to know how to start a presentation with impact. Before you dive deep into the subject, it’s important to let the audience know the contents. An organizational chart is a good option for your beginning slides. They can help you introduce the topic with clarity. They are a great visual tool to showcase what will happen during the presentation. Using PowerPoint wisely is all about utilizing its visual possibilities to get your point across. Neatly ordered information is pleasing to the eye. That’s why charts, diagrams, and tables are so popular. Don’t abstain from using these tools.

Know the Entire Presentation

Outlining your PowerPoint presentation doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll know your way around it. The only way to begin with confidence is by knowing your presentation inside-out. That doesn’t mean you have to know it by heart! In fact, over-preparing can often be a bad idea.

What I mean by knowing your presentation is know where your information is. Standing in front of the crown is different from practicing in the mirror. You might forget parts of your speech from the stress of nervousness. But when you know where you are organizationally, it’ll be easier to kick off from there.

This is particularly important for the beginning because forgetting your presentation at the beginning has severe consequences. It affects both, your and the audiences’ confidence in yourself. If you want to begin with confidence, have a firm grasp of your PowerPoint presentation, all the details, and where they are.

As one of the most important tips on how to start a presentation with impact is being genuine with your audience, you can see why this is important. If you don’t know the presentation, you won’t be able to prepare your audience properly. This means you won’t even be able to be upfront with them. That’s because you weren’t able to be upfront with yourself about what goes where in your presentation!

Now You Know How to Start a Presentation with Impact

Now that you know these top 10 tips on how to start a presentation with impact, everyone will listen. Just remember to know what your hook is, and go light on the text in the first few slides. If you have a lot of information to share – that’s ok. Just don’t do it in the beginning! Make sure you know what to omit so that you don’t end up info-dumping. Having an outline ready to go can help with this. Be honest with your audience, and include them in the conversation. Consider organizational charts and other tools that help introduce all the information that comes in the beginning. And always know that at the heart of every impactful PowerPoint presentation is knowing it inside-out. Get familiar with both the core and the organization of what you’re trying to say. If you follow these 10 tips, you’re well on your way to mastering the art of beginnings and hooking everyone from the very start.

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