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Tuesday Talks: Start Your Presentations With A Scene

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Think about the last time you had a presentation, led a meeting, or pitched an idea. Was your audience fully engaged? Were people leaning forward, enchanted by your delivery, and completely fascinated at what you were telling them?

…Or were they looking off into space, eyes glazed over, clearly not listening to what you were saying?

When you’re presenting, part of your job is to captivate your audience. If you want to become a great presenter, you must learn how to condition your audience before you open your mouth.

If the people you’re speaking to aren’t fully engaged, they won’t take away the important points you bring up during the presentation.

Marie Wedderburn, a presentation coach at Own The Room, a communication skills training company, warns that your audience will mentally step out if you don’t grab them from the very beginning.

So, if you feel like you could do a better job captivating people with your words, try this: next time you hold a presentation, a pitch, or a meeting, start with a scene. Share something that will captivate your audience. Whether it’s a joke, a story, a compelling statistic, or something else, find a “hook” that will grab people’s attention and hold it.

Your goal, as a presenter, is to condition your audience so everyone is “waiting for you to open your mouth,” said Wedderburn. Keep them engaged. Harness their interest. If you can achieve this in the first few seconds of your presentation, meeting, or pitch, you’re more likely to hold attention throughout.

How will you start your next presentation? What has captivated you in the past? Watch the video above to learn more about this presentation tip.

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Ariella Coombs Ariella is the Content Strategist and Career Coach for Work It Daily. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.A. in journalism. Follow her @AriellaCoombs or find her on Google+.