As I regularly review my Google Analytics, two topics, more than all others, the Opening and Closing of a presentation, stand out as being of interest to readers.
You, my reader and listener, have a keen interest in these two parts of a presentation for good reason. That justification is “The Law of Primacy and Recency.” Your audience best remembers the first, your Opening, and last things, your Closing, they hear and see from you.
Specifically, the last thing you say and do will be the first thing they remember. It is crucial for the goal of having your audience GET IT!
GETTING IT! is the goal of all communication; verbal, written, or visual. The audience may not agree with everything you present. They may not agree with anything. Having said that, if they don’t GET IT! there cannot be a conversation going forward. A strong Opening and Closing will help reach that goal.
These critical parts of your presentation have two elements each.
- Strong Opening.
- Grab the attention of your audience with your first statement or action.
- The Opening of Your Speech is your first impression to your audience. It literally ‘sets the stage’ for your presentation.
- Very quickly, the audience is going to be on the edge of their seats, either breathlessly waiting for more, or, if your opening isn’t a great one, waiting for the moment when they can leave their seat and bolt for the exit!
- Tell them what you’ll be telling them.
- Give the specific order of your talk and how questions will be handled.
- Strong Opening.
- Review what you’ve told the audience.
- Strong Closing!
- This will be what they best remember about your presentation.
- Your Introduction, which you wrote, has set the stage for what’s next – you, the presenter!
- The audience knows your expertise and is excited to see and hear you.
- Don’t start talking as soon as you’re introduced. P-a-u-s-e – and count silently to five.
- The silence signals the audience to give you their attention.
- Smile before speaking.
- Unless your presentation is a somber one, smiling indicates you are confident, and ready to present!
- Never, even if true, tell the audience you are not prepared for your presentation.
- Statements like that are self destructive. The audience will not expect much from you, and you’ll probably meet their low expectations.
- If there’s humor in your opening, and it’s appropriate, and you can present it well – use it!
- Good humor will put the audience, and you, at ease.
Have a strong Opening and Closing in your presentations and they will be absolutely –
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