Start Your Presentation Strong

Good morning.  My topic for today's blog post is improving presentations by beginning with one of the tips that will be listed below.  The first part that I would like to discuss is…

Are you asleep yet?

No one wants to start their Monday morning with a meeting that makes even coffee ineffectual.  Come to think of it, there is never a time that people want to sit through a boring meeting.  The necessary information at the heart of many business meetings is dry, but that doesn't mean it can't be interesting to hear about it.

Bert Decker – Chairman & CEO of Decker Communications – wrote in his blog several "do's" to open your presentations that are designed to waken and enliven an audience and get them in a more receptive mood. 

The first – and perhaps most dramatic – is to start with a bang.  Decker suggests being unusual.  Do you have a hidden talent?  Could you start your meeting off with a yodel?  Use your imagination to shake off the cobwebs.

Another good suggestion is to use stories.  Pick one that has a point to coincide with your presentation, but one where the connection can only be seen at the end of the story.  Or better yet, pick a dramatic tale and just when you get to the cliffhanger, start your presentation.  Of course you'll need to finish the story at the end or some people will get upset.

An attractive suggestion of Decker's is to use intrigue and interest.  His example is one of his staple techniques.  He approaches the podium and reads a speech – looking down the whole time – in a monotone.  After thirty seconds or so, he rips up the speech and goes into his normal, energetic presentation – to the relief of the audience.

I just had an idea to kick-start an early morning meeting.  When you announce your next meeting, make sure to clearly and menacingly state that there will be no food or drink tolerated in the conference room.  You should even put a big official sign on the door.  Then the morning of the meeting, after everyone else but you is in there, walk in last with coffee and donuts for all.

Posted by George Page, Communication Specialist