The first five minutes of your presentation can be the catalyst to a successful event and can have a dramatic impact on getting the results you want. Getting the audience engaged in the topic helps highlight why they want and need to be listening to the presentation. Simply stated they want to know “What’s in it for them”. In most cases you need to set the tone for why this is important information and how it will impact their life and future.
Using statistics to emphasize the importance of the message is the most common approach, but statistics can also be boring, confusing and to be honest statistics don’t work for women.
There are a number of fun and effective methods you can use to begin your presentation that will enhance your ability to engage the audience, inspire more interest and validate your value. Basically you want to get the participants sitting on the edge of their seat ready to hear more.
Your Story: Begin by sharing why you do what you do. Letting others know why you care through your personal story is a powerful opener when speaking to a mixed audience (especially women).
- The key is making sure the story is well crafted and articulated. You don’t want it to sound like a dissertation or the story of your life. Have it written out and share it with a friend or family to make sure you are not going down tangents and the message is on point. This is one of my favorite methods as it also reveals a little bit about who you are as a person, a trust building component.
A Story: Use a real story about a client or family member who had a devastating experience that could have been avoided if they had known what you are presenting in your seminar.
- This approach not only helps the participants to relate to the subject in the story but you as the advisor can share what you have done with other clients in similar situations who were able to circumvent a similar crisis by applying your strategies.
Fun Props: Props are always a fun way to illustrate a message and are typically unexpected. Using a popular game board and tying the objective for the game into the content you plan to present.
- I have often used The Game of Life as the objective of the game (like retirement) is to get to the millionaire estates. But unfortunately there are challenges you must hurdle along the way to the millionaire estates.
A Quiz: A short quiz with prizes is always a great way to get your point across.
- The questions should emphasize to the participants how much they don’t know about the subject which entices them to want to learn more. Keep it simple, under 5 questions and allow the participants to share their answers. Always ask for more than one answer before you give the real answer away, this helps get the audience thinking.
Don’t overlook the impact that first 5 minutes can have on any presentation. You want that opening to be different, unique and something the audience is not expecting.
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