By Paola Pascual on Nov 29, 2021 12:25:31 PM
The introduction (together with the conclusion), can be the most important part of your presentation, but it can also be the most awkward one. In this post, you will learn an easy-to-apply yet effective framework to start your next presentation.
Why is the beginning of a presentation important?
The reason why the beginning and the end are so important is called the Primacy and Recency Effects, which means that people remember the beginning and end best.
How to start a presentation
Soft start. Depending on the nature of your presentation, you may be able to do a soft start before actually kicking off your presentation. You can have some small talk with the audience before politely transitioning into your hard start. These few initial minutes will help you engage those who arrived early and allow a brief time for latecomers.
Hard start. Your hard start is your 'official' introduction, where you welcome everyone, introduce the people involved and the topic at hand, and transition to the body of your presentation.
Welcome everyone and thank them for attending your presentation. If you feel comfortable, use a hook or a catchy opening to capture the audience's attention right off the bat. You can use a surprising stat, a famous quote, a rhetorical question.
- Hi everyone, thank you so much for joining us today, and welcome to this session.
- In the 60 minutes it will take me to give this presentation, 7,000 businesses in the US will close down.
- Somebody once said: "a brand is a promise." But what happens when that promise is broken?
#2 Introduce the people involved
When you introduce yourself, establish credibility by describing your relevant experience, responsibilities, and accomplishments. Why should we listen to you?
- My name is Susan, and I’m part of the design team here at Globex Corporation.
- I was fortunate enough to be part of the team at Globex that developed the original Datatronic 2000.
- In my 15 years in Silicon Valley, I learned quite a bit about managing risk, and I learned it the hard way.
#3 Introduce the topic
Make a clear and general statement to explain what benefit the audience will gain from your presentation (this refers back to your WHAT and your WHY, which we covered in our previous lesson).
- Today, I’d like to talk about…
- The main goal of this presentation is…
- What I hope you'll get from this afternoon's session is a clearer idea of how CRM works.
- By the end of this morning's talk, you'll know how to say "No" and feel good about it.
#4 Transition to the main point
Use signposting language to tell the audience where you are going and what they can expect next. Use a segue or transition phrases to move smoothly to whatever follows without pause.
- Alright, let’s dive right in!
- Shall we get the ball rolling?
- Great, let's get down to it!
Think about your next presentation and use this framework to draft the first few minutes of your presentation and paste it in the comments. Make sure you include all the sections and employ a variety of phrases!
This article works as supporting material for our podcast episode on how to start a presentation effectively. You can read the transcript below. Make sure you check out all our other Talaera Talks episodes and subscribe to get new episode alerts.
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Talaera Talks - Transcript Episode 30
If you are learning English, including new English words and expressions will help you with effective communication. Remember to check out our other episodes on how to make small talk, how to deliver engaging presentations, how to speak English fluently, and many more: visit the podcast website. Listen to it on your favorite platform.
Welcome to Talaera Talks, the business English communication podcast for non-native professionals. My name is Paola and I am co-hosting this show with Simon. In this podcast, we're going to be covering communication advice and tips to help express yourself with confidence in English in professional settings. So we hope you enjoy the show!
Welcome to a new Talaera Bit. This is Paola and, in this episode, you will learn an effective way to start your presentation.
Now, why the start? Well, it turns out the beginning, the start of your presentation, together with the conclusion, are the most important parts of your presentation. And this is due to what's called the Primacy and Recency effects. Don't worry, you don't need to remember the names. But it means that people remember the beginning and the end, best. So today, this is what we will cover –the different parts of the introduction or how to start your presentation so that everyone's listening to you and actually wanting to hear.
Depending on the nature of your presentation, you may be able to start or to do like a soft start before actually kicking off your presentation. Here's where you have a little bit of small talk with the audience before politely transitioning into your heart start. So these few initial minutes where you get to talk a little bit with the audience will help you engage with those who arrived early, but also allow a brief time for late commerce. So that's a bit the first few minutes a soft start with small talk.
And then you do have the hard start, which is your official introduction. And I usually this is the part where we will focus on today. And I usually divide this hard start into four small sections, where you welcome everyone you introduce the people involved, and also the topic at hand, and then you transition to the body of your presentation. So let's have a look at each of those four sections and make sure you pay attention to all the phrases I'm going to provide.
Alright, so we said the first section is the welcome. Here's where you welcome everyone and thank them for attending your presentation or talk. And if you feel comfortable, you can also use a hook, which is like a catchy opening to capture the audience's attention right off the bat. You can use like a surprising stat or a famous quote or a rhetorical question. And here are some phrases you can use for this welcome or first section: "Hi, everyone, thank you so much for joining us today and welcome to the session", or "In the 30 minutes that it will take me to give this presentation, 7000 businesses in the US will close down". That's a bit like a surprising stat, right? Or like a famous quote, as I said, "Somebody once said, 'A brand is a promise', but what happens when that promise is broken?" So now you have the first section, the welcome.
Now you move on to the people involved. This is when you introduce yourself, or perhaps even your co hosts if there are any. And here is where you establish credibility by describing your relevant experience, your responsibilities, your accomplishments, why should we listen to you, here's where you have to provide the evidence or reasons. And you can use phrases like just the simple ones such as, "My name is Susan and I'm part of the design team here at Globex corporation", or something like "I was fortunate enough to be part of the team at Globex that developed the original Datatronic 2000". Or here's another phrase, "In my 15 years in Silicon Valley, I learned quite a bit about managing risk, and I learned the hard way".
So you have number one, the welcome, number two, you introduce the people involved (and if there's someone else giving the talk or co hosting with you, make sure you introduce them as well), and number three, you can introduce the topic. And here you need to make a clear and general statement to explain what benefit –and I cannot highlight this enough– the benefit that the audience will gain from your presentation. What is your presentation about and why should they listen to it? And here are some phrases: "Today I'd like to talk about..." or "The main goal of this presentation is..." or "What is I hope you'll get from this afternoon session is a clear idea of how CRM works". Or "By the end of this morning's talk, you will know how to say no and feel good about it". Whatever benefit they will get, make sure you tell them in this heart start.
And the very last bit is the transition to the main point. Here you can use signposting language, which is what you use to tell the audience where you're going, and what they can expect next. Something like "Alright, let's dive right in!" Or "Shall we get the ball rolling?", or "Great, let's get down to it".
So those are the different parts of the beginning of your presentation. Remember, starting with a soft start is a nice way to engage people at the beginning and allow a little bit of time for those who are late. And then with your hard start, you have the welcome ("Hi, everyone. Thank you so much for joining us today"). Number two, you introduce the people involved, then you introduce the topic, giving them a clear benefit of your presentation. And number four, you transition to the main point. And that's it, I hope you're able to use all these phrases and tips and I look forward to our next episode.
And that's all we have for you today. We hope you enjoyed it, and remember to subscribe to Talaera Talks. We'll be back soon with more! And visit our website at https://talaera.com for more valuable content on business English. You can also request a free consultation on the best ways for you and your team to improve your communication skills. So have a great day and keep learning!