If adult attention spans are limited...and they are...(a study by the Navy determined the average adult attention span is 18 minutes), then it's critical that business presenters craft a memorable message to enhance retention. One way to be memorable is to grab your audience's attention off the top with a powerful opening.
A powerful opening gives your audience a reason for listening. A bonus is that getting them engaged and interested right at the beginning will minimize any nervousness you may be feeling.
6 POWERFUL OPENINGS
- Use a startling statistic. Over 40 % of the eligible voters in the United States did not vote in the 2004 presidential election.
- Use a quote that applies to your message.
- Tell a story or anecdote...make it personal, rip it from the headlines or talk about someone known to your audience.
- Ask a question. It can be rhetorical, one you ask without expecting an answer: Can you imagine the impact on our society if we could bring about world peace? Or it can be one where you ask the audience to participate: How many of you LOVE making presentations? Raise your hand.
- Start with the end. Tell them your conclusion up front and then spend your presentation providing support for it.
- Show a 60 second video. Animoto is a web application where you can select images and music and create a professional looking video. Read here for a description of how it works and an interview with Animoto's founder (thanks to Steve Kayser at Riffs, Tiffs and What Ifs).