After hours and hours of brainstorming, many nights spent planning, and what seems like countless keyboard clicks while searching the web for research, you’re almost ready for presentation day. Your partner walked in on you practicing in the mirror so many times you are no longer phased. You’ve had your top-notch professional attire chosen, pressed, and ready to go for days now. You only have one problem, one last obstacle to overcome before speech time. How will you kick things off? What will you say first? Whether it’s a virtual presentation or face-to-face meeting, you need a well thought out introduction.
The first pitch. An actor’s first line of dialogue. A film’s opening sequence. The importance of beginnings cannot be overstressed. Not only do introductions serve to set the scene, so to speak, giving your audience foundational information about you, your objective, and your plan of action, but they set the tone for the entirety of what follows. A well-crafted introduction can stick with your audience, captivating them for the rest of the meeting and well after.
But, at the same time, a poorly executed opener can be impossible to overcome. It’s a tough truth, but one that all professional communicators must accept. People lose attention quickly. If you don’t seize attention and focus immediately, you risk losing it forever. This is why we start and end with the most critical factor – our audience. As part of your ‘grabber’ introduction, you need to let them know what’s in it for them. We also recommend letting them know what you’re ultimately expecting to happen as a result of the presentation. Do you have a recommendation, action items, or next steps for your audience? It’s critical to mention these things up front so your audience has appropriate context, and something to connect your points to throughout your well-crafted message.
There’s a reason you’re reading this newsletter. Achievement drives you. Ambition guides your actions. Every step you take is dedicated to the future. Sometimes though, it’s us, the enterprising and determined, who struggle with success once it’s obtained. So, for all you first-time or new managers and directors committed to perfecting communication skills in your new role, we have a few pointers to get you started.
For longtime and maturing leaders alike, professional presence, image, and etiquette remain pivotal for enduring success. From Leadership Presentation & Image Refresher programs to training built around compelling Business Writing, Dardis has a course to help you become a leader worthy of admiration.