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How Great Speakers Start a Presentation

with Public Speaking Coach Mark Westbrook


How do poor presenters start?

Most presentations start terribly. Weak presenters start by muttering and mumbling something to the organiser, thanking people for coming or some other start that is weak and lacks impact.


Poor presenters start apologetically. Poor presenters start without understand that their job is to grab attention, to inspire, persuade and motivate the audience to listen up and listen good!


How do great presenters start?

The great presenters understand that you need to start a presentation in a way that grabs attention. I don't mean being all showy and flash - nobody likes a slick salesman.


What can YOU do to start a presentation like one of the great speakers?

There are one or two things that you can do to make sure that you grab attention and start your presentation with a bit of a bang.


Ask a Question

1) The best way to start a presentation is to start with a question. Ask them something. Get their minds working, engage them with something they can think about. Don't just fill up their minds - see if you can get them to THINK about what you're saying. They aren't just listening, they are thinking about it.


Ask them something that gets their agreement. It will help them come on board with your thinking.


Your presentation will truly answer that question and help them to realise you are on the same page together. This will help them trust you.


Tell a Story

2) My personal favourite way to get people to relate to me and my way of thinking is a story. All throughout my presentations and coaching I use stories to help people picture what we're talking about.

Make it an inspiring story, a fear inducing story, a motivating story - but inspirational stories work very very well indeed!


People are expecting you to tell a boring old load of data. But when you start with a story, the audience won't even know that you've slipped effortlessly into your presentation. You see, most presentations are boring, so they won't be expecting you to engage them with a story first. Before they know it, you'll be influencing them with your presentation and they didn't even know it.


A story or a question is how the great presentation coaches start their presentations.



If you enjoyed this blog, my name is Mark Westbrook, I'm a Public Speaking and Presentation Skills Coach based in Scotland, but I work all over the UK. If you think I could help you improve your public speaking or presentation skills - get in touch with me today.