You have 8 seconds.

Did you know that the human attention span is decreasing?

8 seconds. That is all you have to create a connection and grab attention during a presentation introduction.

While we used to have a little while to draw in our audience, Microsoft’s recent study suggests that the first few seconds are crucial.

Start with a bang! Create a powerful presentation introduction.

Here at SlideRabbit, we work with our clients to create powerful narratives in all sorts of situations. No matter whether you’re selling or inspiring, thinking about how you kick off your presentation is crucial.

Think about your narrative

Ever been caught in a conversation with someone who only talks about themselves? Did you find yourself itching to check your phone? Or escape entirely?

Don’t be this person! When you write your presentation, change your focus from yourself to your audience.

What are their pain points? What gets them excited? What are they hoping to learn or hear?

Starting by connecting with your audience will get you buy-in from the beginning.

Don’t waste your first impression

It’s very common to start a presentation with the most boring slides in the deck – Welcome, Today’s Agenda, Our Company at a Glance.

Maybe this is a crutch; more likely it’s just habit.

Don’t do it!

When you start at this decelerated pace, you’ve already lost the chance to start with impact. From here, it’s hard to build excitement. The audience has likely already decided that this is just “the typical spiel.”

Kick those house keeping and admin slides out of your intro. Get right to the gravy!

Create a powerful presentation introduction

Now that we’ve adjusted the focus of our presentation introduction from our needs to the needs of the audience, and we’ve jettisoned those momentum-killing standard starters, how can we kick off the presentation in an engaging way?

Tell a story. Stories are captivating. We find them easily relatable and interesting. Perhaps a personal story to connect with the audience. Or a cautionary tale, to set up a problem that you are about to solve.

Pose a question. Did you know that questions light up our brains? We hear a question and immediately start to look for an answer, even if the question is rhetorical. Ask a question to auto-focus your audience’s minds.

Appeal to emotion. Creating an emotional reaction in your audience doesn’t just grab attention: it creates a memorable experience. Emotion seats information in our memories very effectively.

Create a visceral experience. According to Cliff Atkinson, 95% of brain activity occurs at levels beneath consciousness. What does that mean? It means that the body and nervous system are responsible for how people experience the world. Bypass consciousness and create a visceral reaction in your presentation introduction, like a shiver, a gasp, or another unconscious reaction, to grab attention and hold it.

What else should we consider when dealing with 8 seconds of attention?

Stay tuned for upcoming posts on how to create attention-keeping presentations and presenting tips for engaging distracted audiences.

Want to up your presentation introduction game? Whether it’s help with your narrative or a presentation workshop for your team, let us help!

SlideRabbit is a presentation-focused agency. From slide design to template construction to narrative sculpting and concept generation, we help our clients show up looking their best.

All presentation design is custom for each client, fully editable, and brand adherent. We work in both PowerPoint and Google Slides.

Looking to train up your team? We also provide workshops, ranging from technical training to how to think like a presentation designer.

Reach us at [email protected].