Archive for the ‘introductions’ Category

Here’s a presentation-opening technique that can accomplish two things at the same time.

Polling the audience with two or three questions can serve both as an attention-getting technique and a way to learn more about your audience.

You may, for example, start out by naming job specialties and asking that people raise their hand when you mention their specialty.  This could be followed with a question or two about levels of experience with the subject matter.

Immediately, you have your audience members engaged and you have done it in a way that provides you with valuable information about the group you are talking to.

When you do this, though, remember this simple rule: Raise your hand when you ask a polling question.  It helps if your audience members see you modeling how you want them to respond.

Think about the way you greet dinner guests at your home.

Hopefully, you act enthusiastic about their arrival; give them your full, undivided attention; and make them feel welcome.  It would not be unusual if you stood in the foyer for a minute or two while taking their coats and exchanging pleasantries.

You may have a lot planned for the evening, and they may have arrived late, but you don’t make them feel rushed.  It would be bad form to start rapidly talking about the number of courses in the meal and the need to get started and keep things moving.  Your guests are more important than the food.  They are more important than your plans for the evening.

If you ever MC an event, try to keep this dinner-guest image in mind when you first take to the microphone.  You may have an ambitious agenda, and there may have been a delay in getting started, but don’t rush your opening or start immediately talking about agenda pressures.  Focus solely on your audience members and take the time to make them feel welcome.  Give them the true impression that they are your number one priority—not the program.

In the overall scheme of things, the brief amount of time it takes to do this will not have any measurable effect on your timetable.  You will be able to pick up a couple of minutes later without any problem.

When that anxious, meeting-manager voice in your head starts pushing you to rush your start, tell it to be quiet; you have guests.

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