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How to Open a Presentation

Most people have mixed feelings about giving - and listening to - presentations. Some presentations can be inspiring, motivating and eye-opening. At times, however, they can be boring, disconnected and overloaded with unnecessary information. Most memorable presentations nowadays use stories to engage their audience and to elicit an emotional response. As well as having a strong opening line, it’s important to make eye contact and stand in a way that takes in all the audience. In order to make eye contact effectively, you might want to memorise your opening paragraph. There is nothing worse than looking at the top of someone’s head while they look down at their notes!

Check your stance and body language. You should be standing with your feet evenly spaced without folding your arms or moving around too much. Crossing your arms or legs can make you look nervous or defensive. Likewise, unnecessary movement can give the impression that you are anxious or agitated.

Asking a question, and especially beginning with audience engagement, will draw your audience in and show them their participation and attention is important. You might want to thank everyone for coming:

I’m so glad to see so many of you here today.

It’s lovely to see so many familiar faces.

There’s been a fantastic turnout today.

Thank you for being with us.

I am excited to have the opportunity to speak to you today about...

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