it always strikes me how people think
about their presentations or how they prepare their presentations. I’m actually
talking about the first words the first sentences of a presentation. What most people do is
they think of a presentation so automatically you think
about a PowerPoint so you make your slides You look at your slides and you
think about what will I say showing each slide But my question to you is this:
What are your first words? What are your first sentences? Very few people
think about that just think a minute about the presentations that you have
already seen in the past Maybe thepresentations that you have done
yourself There is a cliche sentence that most speakers use to introduce their
topic. They say something like Good morning, good afternoon, my name is … (if
they don’t know you) and then there is this typical sentence “Today I’m going to
talk to you about…” Now you might say “so what’s the problem?” The problem with this
sentence is that you’re actually answering the wrong question you’re
answering the WHAT question. what are you going to do? I’m going to talk about….
If you think about it most audiences know what you’re going to talk about either
you are introduced or there is a program or there is a meeting so there is an
agenda so people know what your topic is all about The most interesting question
to answer is the WHY question Why are you there to talk about this topic and
even more importantly why is it important for the audience to listen to you so my
advice for you is to focus on the WHY question Now how can you do that?
I advise people to focus on a story to begin their presentation. Now if you
think about stories, stories begin with a time frame Just look at fairytales.
They start with once upon a time … Im’ not going to suggest that you start your
professional presentation with once upon a time … But you can start with a time
frame. Something like: Yesterday Two weeks ago, Last year, Three months ago …
Now what’s the kind of story that you can share then? Use real stories.
It has to be something that happened to you. It has to be something that you
heard. So you can refer to a conversation you had with a colleague. You can say
something like: Yesterday I had a conversation with … But then there has to
be a reason why you refer to that conversation. And there is this linking
sentence that I use in lots of presentations I tell my story and then I
continue saying: Now why do I tell you this? Because my objective or my goal
with this presentation is to … So what you can do is be very conscious of the
company’s stories I might say It can be something that happened with a customer,
it can be an article you read, it can be something that you heard about,
it can be a conversation you had … So use these stories to begin your presentations,
link them to your goal and it will be so much more interesting for your audience
because it will be crystal clear for them from the very first minute why it
is important to them. So next time you prepare your presentation
focus on that WHY question and tell them a story