The best way to start a presentation


First impressions count, and this logic applies to presentations too. Grabbing your audience’s attention in those initial 60 seconds of the presentation is key to making sure you have their focus on the message you are aiming to get across. Make sure your presentation design is catered to this.

Otherwise, if you end up wasting the first minute due to a poorly-crafted presentation, then you are going to find it difficult to keep your audience concentrated on your subject matter.

With all this in mind, we take a look at the best ways to start a presentation to capture people’s attention.

  • Start with a relevant story
  • Pick a bold claim, jarring fact or statistic
  • Show a thought-provoking image
  • Ask a rhetorical question
  • Select a short interesting video
  • Ask your audience to use their imagination
  • Choose a meaningful quote

Start with a relevant story

A well-told story that is relevant (and not too long either) can be an excellent way to catch the attention of your audience. Always make sure that the story you are telling connects with the presentation you will be giving.

Pick a bold claim, jarring fact or statistic

Do something a little bit different and engage your audience by surprising them with a bold statement, fact or statistic. This doesn’t mean saying something for the mere sake of it – your presentation should support the point you are making – but it can be an interesting way to make sure people perk up and start listening.

Show a thought-provoking image

Picking a powerful picture to start the presentation is highly recommended, as it is likely to reinforce the message you are trying to get across better. This is because visuals tend to be far more memorable.

When picking presentation images to start with, avoid complicated graphs.

But the emphasis is on choosing the right image something powerful or thought-provoking. This means avoiding things like spreadsheets and graphs to start off with.

Ask a rhetorical question

If you pick a carefully crafted rhetorical question and deliver it with confidence, it can be a captivating way to begin a presentation and spark your audience’s curiosity.

Select a short, interesting video

Another great alternative for starting your presentation is deciding to scrap words entirely and choose a video instead for your opener. Keep it short yet compelling and you can help to communicate your message far more effectively than bullet points on a slide would.

Ask your audience to use their imagination

Actively engage your audience from the very beginning by asking them to use their imagination. Make sure what you are asking from your audience is suitably linked to your presentation so that they connect with the content.

Choose a meaningful quote

Starting with a quote can sometimes be a bit risky because it wholly depends on the quote you choose, but, if you pick an excellent one it can be a strong way to start a presentation. It is best to avoid an extremely obvious, well-known quote if you ultimately go with this option.