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  • It always strikes me how people think about their presentations or how they prepare their presentations.

  • I'm actually talking about the first words, the first sentences of a presentation.

  • What most people do is they think of a presentation, so, automatically, you think about a PowerPoint.

  • So, you make your slides, you look at your slides, and you think about, "What will I say showing each slide."

  • But my question to you is this:

  • What are your first words?

  • What are the first sentencesvery few people think about that.

  • Just think a minute about the presentations that you have already seen in the past, maybe the presentations that you have done yourself.

  • There is a cliché sentence that most speakers use to introduce their topic.

  • They say something like, "Good morning, good afternoon, my name isif they don't know you."

  • And then there is this typical sentence, "Today I'm going to talk to you about...."

  • Now, you might say, "So, what's the problem?"

  • The problem with this sentence is that you're actually answering the wrong question; you're answering the "what" question.

  • What are you going to do?

  • I'm going to talk about....

  • If you think about it, most audiences know what you're going to talk about.

  • Either you are introduced or there is a program or there is a meeting so there is an agenda, so people know what your topic is all about.

  • The most interesting question to answer is the "why" question.

  • Why are you there to talk about this topic, and even more importantly, why is it important for the audience to listen to you?

  • So, my advice for you is to focus on the "why" question.

  • Now, how can you do that?

  • I advise people to focus on a story to begin their presentation.

  • Now, if you think about stories, stories begin with a time frame.

  • Just look at fairytales, they start with "Once upon a time...."

  • I'm not going to suggest that you start your professional presentation with "Once upon a time...", but you can start with a time frame.

  • Something like, "Yesterday...", "Two weeks ago...", "Last year...", "Three months ago..."

  • Now, what's the kind of story that you can share then?

  • Use real stories; it has to be something that happened to you.

  • It has to be something that you heard.

  • So, you can refer to, um, a conversation you had with, um, a colleague.

  • You can say something like, "Yesterday I had a conversation with..."

  • But then there has to be a reason why you referred to that conversation.

  • And there is this linking sentence that I use in lots of presentations.

  • I tell my story, and then I continue saying, "Now, why do I tell you this?"

  • "Because my objective, or my goal, with this presentation is to..."

  • So, what you can do is be very conscious of the... the company's stories, I might say.

  • It can be something that happened with a customer, it can be, um, an article you read,

  • it can be something that you... you heard about, it can be a conversation you had.

  • So, use these stories to begin your presentation, link them throuto your goal, and it will be so much more interesting for your audience,

  • because it will be crystal clear for them from the very first minute why it is important to them.

  • So, next time you prepare your presentation, focus on that "why" question and tell them a story.

It always strikes me how people think about their presentations or how they prepare their presentations.

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