5 Big Ideas For Opening Your Presentations That WOW Participants


by Sheila K. on February 11th, 2015

5 Big Ideas For Opening Your Presentations That WOW Participants
A recent webinar leader spent the first 18 minutes of her presentation introducing herself rambling on about her credentials and the people she knew before getting to her goals for the 45 minute session.  18 minutes  That’s 40% of the session!

I give her credit for customizing this experience suggesting that since it was a very small group, she wanted the session to be informal.  It was also true that she personalized the first of several sessions for this very small group using participant names and orchestrating their ability to briefly introduce themselves.  She encouraged them to make connections with others in the organization dealing with some of the same issues.

Open with a “Hook” to immediately engage audiences

The beginning of your session, (like the ending), is prime real estate.  It presents the most unique opportunity to “hook” your audience, getting them interacting with you and with fellow learners immediately with something (hopefully) relevant to the content of your session.

Here are 5 big ideas for opening your presentations to WOW your participants: 

1.    Begin with a startling statistic!   In your session with organization managers on harassment in the workplace for instance, begin by citing the cost of litigating one employee claim as a percentage of their remaining department budget for the year.  OR

Consider beginning a speaking engagement on your latest book describing the life long emotional impact on texting teens causing automobile accidents with the increase in these events over the last two years.  Perhaps you capture that increase locally to emphasize the relevancy for a local audience.  Adding a photo of such an accident adds to the emotion and another “hook.”

2.    Before even introducing yourself or your topic, share a story with a video vignette that suggests the consequences of NOT listening and heeding your advice during the session.   I’ll never forget the opening of a session used to insure flight attendants completed their pre-flight checklist completely and thoroughly every time.   You guessed it…there were a couple of items left unchecked on the list and the plane crashed.  Right before our eyes! The incomplete checklist was found amid the wreckage.

3.    One of the most powerful ways of engaging an audience is with the emotional response from a beautiful, powerful image or well known, credible individual attesting to the significance of what yo