Staggeringly, as little as 8-12% of an average business presentation is remembered by the audience. Just think, that equates to around three minutes of the 30 minute presentation you sit through. There are several steps to take if you want your presentations to be well remembered. Principle among them is that your opening 90 seconds needs to awaken your audience's attention.
For most presenters, 90 seconds equates to approximately 225 words. You should use those words carefully and with a clear focus on awakening interest. The moment you open your mouth that 90 seconds is quickly ticking away - so here are three key tips for ensuring your opening 90 seconds grab your audience's attention:
1. Script & then... rehearse, rehearse, rehearse
Perfect practice makes for a perfect performance. Consider each word, pause and breath - craft and rehearse them with care, giving yourself the best possible chance of getting your message across. A weak opening will leave you with an uphill struggle.
Once you have scripted your opening, rehearse it until it is committed to memory.
2. Know your surroundings
Don't use this precious time checking whether the people at the back of the room can hear you. This gives the audience the impression that you haven't adequately prepared. Do the appropriate sound checks prior to your presentation and actively work with the audio team (if there is one).
Familiarise yourself with the equipment you are using - where the buttons are and what they do. Keep your focus on the audience rather than the technology.
3. Tell them something they don't know
Making a dramatic statement during your opening is a sure way of grabbing attention - however, make sure you're able to you back up any claims.
Using unfamiliar statistics has equal impact and can help build your reputation as the 'go-to' source of knowledge.