How we kick off our presentations gives our audience’s brain two options: “Hey – this could be intriguing and relevant”, OR “Nothing new here – better keep the phone near by.”
So, to avoid the latter, here are two intro sentences that should be banned from all presentations:
“I’m so happy to be here.”
“Thank you so much for your time…”
These comments are benign, far too common and do nothing to grab the attention of your audience.
“I’m so happy to be here.” … Um, would you really tell us if you weren’t?
“Thank you so much for your time” … This puts you in the one down position instead of setting the tone for a mutually beneficial talk.
Instead, give your audience value for their time investment,
and do it from the start.
Begin with a question, a short powerful story, or visual. Then quickly make it relevant to THEM.
“How many of you completely understand the new XYZ policy?” In the next 20 minutes I’m going to share the 3 policy changes that will matter most to you.”
“320 HOURS. Can anyone guess what that number represents? That’s the number of overtime hours my team has put into this project to make sure we deliver what our client wants. I’d like to give you an update, and two reasons why I’m requesting additional resources to ensure the success of OUR project.”
I once coached an incredibly accomplished and experienced nurse who gave presentations to doctors on current HIPAA regulations. She started by saying ”I know you’re really busy, so I really appreciate your time”. I stopped her and said, “it sounds like you feel guilty for taking their time.” “Yes,” she said “they have really important things to do.” “True, and so do you!” I assured her. How about starting with: “How many of you would like to be free of lawsuits this year? I’ve got some critical up-to-date info that can help you do just that.”
Your introduction doesn’t have to be shocking – just compelling and relevant. It tells your audience that your information is worth their attention.
Do you present to senior leaders, teams, clients?
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