The first 2 minutes of a presentation can determine whether or not it will be successful. If you have to convince a client to buy your solution, an investor to increase capital for your startup or a journalist to publish a paper about your know-how, it's important to know that you are going to have to grab their attention from the outset. Discover 6 ways to help you get your presentation off to a good start!
Depending on the idea you wish yo get across, it can allow you to lighten up the atmosphere, give a tone to your speech and mobilise the aspirations of each and every person in a unique way.
In conclusion, never forget that attention spans are reduced if there are no visual stimuli, that we are overstimulated on a daily basis by notifications, social networks, emails and spam, so you can't afford not to grab your audience's attention from the very first second of your presentation.
Article by Michael Dias, Founder of Spitch
Tell a storyFor centuries, stories have been the most effective way of sharing important information and useful lessons for future generations, long before the invention of the printing press. Starting a presentation with a personal story will allow you to capture your audience's attention more easily, as we are so used paying attention to these types of accounts and remembering them. There's an example I like a lot, that of Airbnb. The co-founders of this American startup often start their speeches off with the story of how they started. Legend has it that they wanted to create a startup, but they didn't have enough money to pay their rent in San Francisco. One fine day they had the idea to rent out inflatable beds to tourists in their apartment and offer their guests breakfast. This led to the name of their first website: airbed & breakfast. This story obviously doesn't include all the facts but, in reality, it manages to capture the attention of the audience's and adds a human aspect to their activity. It's not a classified ads site, it's the story of two young people who were "struggling" and had an idea which made them into millionaires. Therefore, during your next presentation, think about adding in a story that will allow you to capture your audience's attention from the outset. Telling a story is not only a good way to make a lasting impression, but it's also an easy way to introduce and justify the existence of the solutions you wish to present. Therefore, choose your story well.
Ask a rhetorical questionA rhetorical question is a question you don't want to be answered immediately, but which can be used to develop the point of view of the person asking it. The most interesting example I know is that of Simon Sinek's TED Talk about Brand Communication and what it is that makes Apple more aspirational than others. "How do you explain when things don't go as we assume? Or better, how do you explain when others are able to achieve things that seem to defy all of the assumptions? For example: Why is Apple so innovative? Year after year, after year, they're more innovative than all their competition. And yet, they're just a computer company. They're just like everyone else. They have the same access to the same talent,the same agencies, the same consultants, the same media. Then why is it that they seem to have something different?" Simon Sinek starts his presentation with a series of questions, intriguing his audience in order to then use this attention to demonstrate his arguments. Thus, think about using this technique for asking, out loud, questions that your audience ask themselves already - this will allow you to capture their attention more easily. Called to action, your audience will force themselves to stay concentrated in order to discover the answers to these questions.
Use a figure or striking statement"Today, more than 4 billion people don't have internet access. For every dozen people we connect to the internet, one of them will leave the poverty line." It was with this impactful figure that Mark Zuckerberg recently opened his latest keynote at Facebook. This statement makes a lasting impression and allows him to capture the audience's attention very quickly. As an audience, we become impatient to hear the next part of the presentation and discover Facebook's plan for providing high speed connections to as many people as possible. It's therefore a successful opening. In the same way, at the beginning of a presentation, using a striking figure or statement previously unknown to your audience and relating to your business or otherwise, will allow you to open the audience's mind and intrigue them much more easily. Your audience will naturally want to know more, to check if what you're claiming is true or not, to try and understand how they could be impacted by this information and to determine to what extent the solution that you are presenting can help them to draw conclusions about the situation.
Choose a captivating imageA few years ago, I worked at Nokia as Chief Evangelist. My role consisted of meeting Brand Advisors (Resellers, Trainers, Journalists, etc.) to present, in 15 minutes, the new features and encourage them to reorder Nokia. I got into the habit of starting my presentations off with this holiday snap to illustrate the offline GPS feature available on all Nokias at the time. I would say that I set off on a road trip around Asia and that all I took with me was a backpack, 6 t-shirts, 2 pairs of shorts and a travel guide, as I had my Nokia with the famous Offline GPS which allowed me to find out my location at any time without having to be connected to 3G. Surveys are generally carried out after these presentations, often about what those present remembered from the presentation. Result: A huge majority of participants said them mainly remembered the GPS feature and many of them mentioned the photo of the elephant. I'm not forcing you share all your holiday photos, but do try to come up with one or more images that perfectly illustrate, in a memorable way, the idea you want to get across. As with figures, a striking image of a previously unknown or unexpected fact will allow you to capture your audience's attention, create a mnemonic anchor in their minds, which will allow them to remember this moment and all the information associated for a longer period of time.
Use infographicsStarting off your presentation with a figure illustrated with an infographic is often worth more than a long speech. A good example is that of Scott Harisson's intervention at Le Web. The CEO of Charity Water came to Paris to reveal his plans, which consisted of raising funds to dig wells in Africa and bring clean drinking water to as many people as possible. To start off his demonstration, Scott used this infographic, which immediately puts everything into perspective. The best infographics are those that combine text, date and attractive graphics, displaying information that is, at times, extremely complex. Risking sounding extremely over the top, using an infographic at the start of your presentation is, just like a striking photo, an excellent way of attracting your audience's attention and putting into perspective, visually, a little-known truth such as the aforementioned.
Start your presentation with a videoHaving a video aid or a dynamic animation is another excellent way of getting your presentation off to a good start. An example: the introduction of WWDC d'Apple in 2014 by video is, in my opinion, perfect.
Translated by Cherie Gamble