How you begin your research presentation matters a great deal. The beginning is when your audience is paying attention. Studies have shown that people lose attention gradually if the speaker starts poorly. Getting your audience’s attention from the beginning is the most important thing one can do in starting a presentation. Yes, you want to introduce yourself and complete the formalities as quickly as possible, but without grabbing their attention, you’ve already lost them. Remembering the importance of capturing the attention of who you’re speaking to will set you up for the many other strategies we convey. So don’t lose people with a dull start!. You will have to gain the audience’s confidence and attention within the first 10-20 seconds of your session.
Here are few tried and tested methods that will help you to make a great presentations. You need not have to try all these tips in a single presentation but at least a few can be of great help.
1. Start confidently
Begin with a quick introduction about yourself as this will help establish your credibility. Introduce yourself briefly. In this part you can talk about what is your name, your co-authors, your affiliation and where you are from and what is your topic for discussion.
2. Eye To Eye Contact With Audience
For those who tend to get nervous in larger audiences, picking different people in the audience to speak to can ease those nerves. Start this at the beginning of your presentation speaking to them directly. When you occupy the stage for presentation the first thing you need to do is to gaze around the room, establish one to one eye contact with your audience and give a confident smile. Eyes that gaze around the room will make the audience feel connected. Make the audience to feel that you are engaged with them personally for this topic which makes them to invest fully for your topic. Pick different people to speak to in the room and everyone will think you are talking directly to them.
3. Welcome Your Audience
Another important formality is welcoming your audience with a thank you. It shows both sincerity and appreciation and additionally establishes the sense of community with your audience. A great example of this is welcoming them coupled with a thank you for the opportunity to speak.
4. Adjust Your Voice
Make your voice as loud as you can. In some situation, you have to make your presentation in big auditorium, so try let every audience can hear you clearly even the people in the last row. Try to control your speaking speed. If you speak too slow, it will make your audience boring with in first five minutes, while if you speak too fast, your audience will not follow you easily. So, just keep your speed moderate.
5. Memorize Your First Opening Line
In general it is not a good idea to memorize your entire speech. It is however a good idea to memorize the beginning 4– 10 sentences. This is critical because it allows you to feel confident and ride the wave of confidence as you continue your presentation. This is a professional practice you should always leverage to your advantage.
6. Power of the words “Think for while, Imagine, Think of, Close Your Eyes”
Another powerful mechanism used by many speakers is getting the audience to imagine or think of something related to their work. This will pull the audience in to your domain of work. This technique can be useful in starting off a presentation.
Audience love stories , but your story has to be relevant to your research. You can craft a story about an experience you had and tell how you could able to define your research problem based on the experience you had. This makes your presentation both interesting and incorporates information about the work you are carrying out. Story telling or sharing your own experience is the best way to connect with your audience. Many researchers use this technique and it remains one of the most critical pieces to becoming an effective presenter.
8. Facts and Statistics
Make your audience curious about your topic with a fact they didn’t know. Explaining the importance of your topic to your audience is essential. Showcasing data and statistics to prove a point remains a a critical strategy not just at the beginning but also throughout. Statistics can be mind numbing but if there is some compelling information that can help further the conversation.
9. Power of Pause
We are all uncomfortable when there is pause. Yet incorporating pause into your presentation can be a valuable tool causing the audience to be attentive to what you are going to say next. A pause is an effective way to grab attention. There are two ways you might use this technique. After you are introduced, walk on stage and say nothing. Simply pause for three to five seconds and wait for the full attention of the audience. It’s a powerful opening. Depending on the audience, you might need to pause longer than five seconds. At another point in your presentation, you might be discussing about the results or you are about to provide important information, that’s when you pause to grab attention. You’ll probably feel uncomfortable when you first try this technique, but it’s worth mastering.
Quoting someone who is a well known researcher in your field is a great way to start any presentation. Just be sure to make it relevant to the purpose of your speech and presentation. If you are using slides, adding a picture of the person you are quoting will add more value to your presentation.
11. Begin with a Video
Video remains a powerful mechanism to begin a presentation. Limit your videos to 2–3 minutes. People like video, and it can capture their attention, but they can also tire of it easily. It gives the presenter and the attendees a break from each other. Sometimes, you just look for visible reactions from the audience that might provide a transition from video back to speaking. Conversely, for the attendees, the video provides a break from the speaker.