“So we’re delighted to welcome……..”
The words that will still send a wee shiver down the spines of most speakers!
And unfortunately all too often the next minute or so will create a negative effect on your audience.
We’re all familiar with the idea that first impressions count – think of going for an interview – and yet we often overlook the importance of these opening seconds when we’re giving a presentation.
Here are some simple steps you can take to make sure you take your audience with you right from the start.
1 Before you actually walk up, take some deep breaths. This will ensure you have enough air in you to produce the volume you want and it will also make you feel bit relaxed.
2 Walk to the lectern or wherever with a pleasant smile on your face and in a confident manner. Look around your audience as you walk. It’s not a daft idea to practise this walk!
3 When you get to your position stand still – this signals to your audience that you are taking control. Pause for a count of 3 or 4 and look around. The silence also reinforces your authority.
4 When you speak take especial care with the end of your sentences. Often we drop our voice here but if you are mentioning something important – your business name or the subject then you need to make sure your listeners can hear it!
5 In your opening words make sure you signal to your audience what is to come.
6 Many people find it helpful to memorise their opening words (but not your whole talk). It’s certainly a good idea to practise it out loud.
Our next blog will look at how to manage your preparation time..