How you start matter: Effective commencing for meetings and presentations.
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How you start matter: Effective commencing for meetings and presentations.

The most precious commodity in today’s world is not gold or crypto currency, but attention. We are inundated with a tremendous amount of information vying for our focus. Why then would so many people squander away an opportunity to gain attention by starting presentations or meetings with: “Hi, my name is …. and today I am going to talk about …” This is a lackluster, banal, disengaging way to begin. Not only does it lack originality, it is downright silly since most speakers start this way while standing in front of a slide displaying their name along with the title of their talk. Please join me on my personal mission to change the way presentations and meetings start.

Rather than commence with a boring and routine start, I suggest kicking off your presentation like a James Bond movie… with action: You can tell a story, take a poll, ask a provocative question, show a video clip. Starting in this manner captures your audience’s focus and pulls them away from other attention grabbing ideas, people, or devices. This action-oriented approach works for meetings, too. On your agenda, have the first item be one or two questions to be answered when you start. In this way, participants get engaged from the moment the meeting begins.


May 21, 2019