How to Hook Your Audience with Fantastic Presentation Openers

Business man making a presentation at office. Business executive delivering a presentation to his colleagues during meeting or in-house business training, explaining business plans to his employees.

Capturing your audience’s attention at the beginning of your presentation is critical to its overall success…and for converting a prospect to a customer. It’s imperative that you’re able to drive interest right from the start so those listening are switched on and engaged with what you’re saying… and selling.

Doing so means using powerful presentation openers that help you hit the ground running. So what makes a good presentation opener?

Good presentation openers set the tone and agenda for what is to follow. They get your prospects prepared for what’s next and help make them more receptive to the presentation messaging you’ll subsequently build and your sales proposition.

But exactly what’s the best way to open your presentation? Well, there’s no simple answer to this. Choosing the right opening for your presentation will depend on its objective, tone and content. Consider the 5 types of presentation openers below and choose one most appropriate for your message:-

1.) Share a Statistic

You might not think it at first, but numbers can have real dramatic power when they’re delivered well. This is why Infographics are so popular these days online.

Of course, you don’t want to splurge all your most important data on your prospects from the start. You’ll want to build a crescendo of messaging towards those reveals later. But a surprising or impressive statistic can help hook the prospect’s attention. The more shocking or mind-blowing it is, the better.

To avoid confused stares from your audience, it’s important you position any statistic in the proper context. Don’t just deliver the number on its own: frame it in a way that demonstrates to your audience why it matters.

2.) Ask a Question

Starting off with a question: an oldie but a goodie in the public speaking toolkit, you can use it to heighten prospect engagement by addressing them directly. There are a few ways you can go about opening your presentation with a question. You can use an entirely rhetorical one to get your audience thinking about and reflecting on your topic, or you can seek responses to turn your conversation into a two-way conversation.

Starting with questions helps establish an element of interaction in your presentation.

3.) The Opinion

Does the message running through your presentation point to a conclusion that goes against or refutes the currently accepted school of thinking fro your product or service? Great, then you probably have some prime content for grabbing your prospect’s attention. Lead off with a statement right from the start to arouse curiosity. People will naturally want to find out why you think that way, so you’re in a great position to explain your position using your presentation slides.

4.) The Value Proposition

A good way of hooking your prospects is to think of them already as your customers. They only care about their own needs and priorities, and the whole reason that they agreed to listen to you is because they want to derive value from your presentation and make an informed decision about purchasing your products or services.

You can get them listening closely by acknowledging this fact and letting them know from the beginning exactly what they’ll get out of it. Obviously, don’t promise anything that you can’t deliver on, as this risks damaging your credibility.

5.) The Problem Solver

If your presentation is focused around selling them a product or service then the subject of your presentation is probably aimed at solving some sort of problem for them. So why not open by describing their issues in depth?

Really dig into the pain points that the problem causes – amplify how bad the current situation is and why it needs to be solved by your organisation.

Once your prospects recognise the breadth and depth of their issues you’re in a prime position to solve it with the rest of your presentation, positioning your product or approach as the ‘hero’. Remember that the problem can be one that your prospect directly faces, but can also be one that creates issues for their end customers.

Once you’ve decided on a brilliant opener, check out our tips on how to plan and structure the rest of your presentation.