Five Ways to Start a Presentation

There are many ways to start a presentation. None are particularly wrong, but some are better than others. Hopefully, the 5 ideas below will help you start your presentation and break the ice.

1. The ice breaker

Start the presentation cold with some sort of joke or skit. This will catch everyone by surprise, instantly break the ice and most probably be remembered by the majority of the audience for some time. Just make sure that the joke or skit will be relevant in some way and not insulting to anyone as this will instantly turn their interest off. So keep it neutral!

2. Evidence

One of the most effective ways to start a presentation is with stark facts and evidence. For example, a good opening line could be ‘If all of the people in this room today smoked, by the time we are 70 years old over 75% of us will have a chronic illness or be dead.’ Facts like this will make people sit up and take notice of what you are saying. So make sure that the facts are accurate and relevant.

3. Quotation

Find a good quote by a relevant person. For example, in a presentation about law, you could use a quote from a famous judge, or from a famous case relevant to the presentation. This can instantly make people relate to your presentation through knowing the quote, and even if they do not know the quote they may find it relevant and interesting.

4. A true story

Using a true story can be very effective, and can get your audience listening intently. The tale should be true, based on and filled with fact that is relevant to the presentation. For example, if your presentation is about stopping smoking, then use a true account of someone who has successfully stopped before.  This can give the audience belief and something they can relate to.

5. The shock tactic

Finally, you could use a more wayward approach. I once witnessed this and will never forget it. The person giving the presentation walked onto the stage and stood there for a moment looking at his notes. Then he looked at the audience. Again looking at his notes, then glancing at people in the audience. Then from nowhere he let out an almighty scream! Everyone in the room jumped. Notes flew everywhere! He then laughed at us, saying, ‘Now I am confident I have your attention, I shall begin.’ This will be for the more adventurous of you but, believe me, is something that the audience will never forget, and definitely something to make them sit up and listen!

I hope these ideas help! One final point: confidence is key.

Ryan Marshall


Published On: 30th Jan 2012

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1 Comment
  1. Give a brief overview of the presentation at the beginning

    Jonty 6 Feb at 2:15 pm