Have you been to a presentation where the speaker enchants you? They hook you immediately, wind you into their ball of yarn, and then finish with you yearning for more. You feel pumped and curious. You find yourself anxious to find out how to get some of what the presenter has to sell.
How do they do it?
Great presentations are broken down into three sections. The open, the body, and the close. For the speaker to weave their magic they must hook you immediately, engage you in stories, and have a compelling finish that makes you want to buy in.
The Opening Hook
There is a short window of opportunity to hook your audience in. If the audience is not engaged within the first few minutes, you’ve lost them and it will be tough to get them back.
- Begin with a shocking statistic or an idea that goes against status quo thinking
- Ask a question, not a rhetorical one, but one that will incite discussion and cause your audience to contemplate whether you are answering it
- With caution – tell a joke – only if you are a brilliant joke teller.
First impressions hit deep.
The “introduce the problem” then give them “the solution” model works when it is enveloped in a story. Without a story, it is like your parents nagging at you or a commander barking orders. You don’t understand the real why and to follow would be to do so blindly.
We connect with the teller of stories when they let us into their world. They have encountered a problem and then slayed it. We want to do the same. Which leads to how to close your presentation.
Big Bang Close
You have your audience in the palm of your hands, now how do you close with oomph? By not telling them everything – leaving them with more questions to ask.
Of course great presentations are not simply a captivating opening, an enthralling story, and a thrilling close. But my job wouldn’t be done if I didn’t leave you a little curious and wanting more.
Janice Tomich is the Principal and founder of Calculated Presentations based in Vancouver, BC. When it comes to strategic presentations of all sorts Janice is the pro to go to. Connect with Janice on LinkedIn or at www.JaniceTomich.com
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