Five Steps for the First 30 Seconds of a Presentation
No matter how important your speech is, if you don’t capture your audience’s attention right away, there is a good chance that they won’t hear a single word that you say. Because of this, your first thirty seconds (or even before you start speaking) are the most important parts of your presentation.
So, what can you do? Here are some steps that you need to take before or during the first thirty seconds of your presentation.
- Dress carefully. No matter where you are giving your speech or who your audience is, you need to dress professionally. This shows your audience that you are serious about your speech and that you are someone that they need to listen to! You also should dress comfortably or you will struggle during your whole speech.
- Say a mantra to yourself (before you walk out onto the stage). Nerves often get the best of most people so it is important that you take the time to calm any excessive nerves and get to the right level of nervous excitement before walking out onto the stage. You may find that saying a mantra will calm you down, and perhaps giggle a bit, which is perfect (perhaps you’d like to try my mantra “It’s show time”). Others prefer to sing and dance around to get their energy out. You need to do whatever it is that works for you so that you can calmly walk onto the stage with the right level of nervous excitement and give the best performance possible.
- Be prepared. Before you get started, you need to be prepared. In fact, the more prepared that you are, the better your speech will go. So, practice, practice, and practice again. Try to say it differently every time. It will sound more conversational (and more easily understood) if you practice so much that you can just focus on talking about the subject instead of memorizing a speech. People will quickly know that you truly understand what you are saying, not just reiterating facts!
While practicing, you also need to watch your body language, your facial expressions, and even how you move your body. You want to look as natural as possible when you are up on stage, while being intentional with your movements and facial expressions.
- Visualize how you want the speech to go. Many professionals believe that you need to visualize yourself giving the speech so that you are really able to blow people away. You might want to think about possible reactions and questions that your audience may have so that you are even more prepared.
- Once you are up on stage, it is important to interact with your audience right away. If done correctly, when you interact with them, you will have their attention from then on. The best way to get their attention is to start with a challenging story or challenging question. You want something they will feel in their gut not just think about. Once you establish this connection, you will all feel like you are on the same team (and they will be on your side).
The best thing that you can do before your speech is to practice, practice and practice some more. Your audience will be able to know when you know and understand your material or when you are just reading off of a script. They will be more interested in your thoughts when they know that is how you feel about it.
You also need to dress the part. You should wear comfortable clothes that are professional. You want to project an image of someone important. If you dress sloppily, your audience may not even pay attention to anything that comes out of your mouth. Once you are up on stage, you need to interact with your audience right away. Ask a challenging question or tell a challenging story to get them hooked before you get to the important information you have to share. Your audience will be on your side once you get their attention!
Giving a speech and need some guidance? Don’t hesitate to contact us today for a free 30-minute Discovery Call. We will help you nail it!