Chris Croft
Tips of the Month Archive

Presentation Skills Tip 10


Overcoming nerves

Microsleeps and what you can do about them

Making your presentation interactive

Adjusting your timing

Powerpoint pros and cons

Making your talk interactive

Powerpoint what could go wrong?

Powerpoint advanced tips


Your opening minute

How to remember your talk

Hi everyone

it's been a bit of a gap since my last tip - slight problems (or are they opportunities?) with hard disc failure... I thought about making this week's tip ALWAYS BACK UP YOUR DATA but then I thought "surely they already know that!"

But no, it's presentation skills this week, so......

What should you say in the opening minute??

The first minute is the most important minute (followed by the last minute)

During this time the audience will sum you up and decide whether to listen or not. Scary! And it's probably also your most nervous time.


So the answer is to prepare the first minute very carefully. It should include the following:

Good morning/afternoon, and your name.

Very short and modest description of your job / reason why it's you doing the talk

(e.g. much better to say "I look after..." rather than "I'm in charge of...")

No jokes!

The "What's in it for me" question must be answered in the first minute.

(e.g. "I'm going to show you how to improve your....")

A brief agenda is needed: ideally visual as well as verbal, saying what the main sections are and how long they will take.

Confirm the finish time of your talk.

Say whether you want questions at the end or (I think better) to have them as you go along.

Consider asking a question to get their attention. E.g. "Does anyone have an example of..." or "Hands up how many of you have had a problem with..."

Then signpost the end of the intro and the start of the talk with "Right, so let's have a look at section 1, Genesis" or whatever.


Plan this introduction, make notes (I like big bullet points on a sheet of A4) which you can use at the talk itself, and then run through the introduction at least once for practice.


Onwards and upwards


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