How to open your presentation

George TorokInsights, Presentation Tips, Public Speaking Leave a Comment


Your first words are important because your audience is judging you. They are scrolling through questions in their mind:

Should I listen? How long will this take? Do I trust the person? How painful will this be? When will we get to the relevant part? What does this mean to me?

The purpose of your opening is to grab their attention, establish rapport and set the direction.

Most importantly – grab attention.

How might you do that?

open your presentation

First, be aware of silly phrases to avoid:

  • My name is…  and a little bit about me (we don’t care)
  • Today I’m going to talk about (boring)
  • Thank you for inviting me to speak (boring and irrelevant)
  • I’m honored to be invited (wasting time and feeling phony)


Instead, start with:

  • An enticing promise
  • A bold statement
  • An intriguing question
  • An emotional trigger


Study these suggested phrases for each opening method.


An enticing promise:

  • By the end of this presentation, you will understand the 3 criteria for
  • You have the tools for success, and today you will learn how to use them
  • You don’t need to waste more money if you use this process


A bold statement:

  • If we don’t address this threat, we will be out of business in six months
  • Success is never easy, yet it can be simple
  • We have a secret weapon that is waiting to be used


An intriguing question:

  • Did you know…
  • Would it surprise you to learn…
  • What is the most dangerous question that our clients are asking about…


An emotional trigger:

  • Imagine a world where… (The word “imagine” engages and triggers our imagination)
  • How would you feel about… (“feel” is emotional and more powerful than “think” which is logical)
  • What scares you about… (tap into the powerful emotion of fear)
  • My daughter asked me about… (family stimulates emotional connections)



Review these opening phrases. Rehearse them out loud. Play with different endings that fit your circumstances. Get comfortable with these opening lines.


Imagine the power of your presentation when you grab their attention with your first words.


Start your presentation

Open your presentation

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