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7 Great Ways To Start Off Your Presentation (Spoiler: Make It Interactive!)

09/04/2020 in Protips, Protips on Presentations

Lindsie Nguyen

Public Speaking Trainer

"Welcome to my presentation"

We all know the proverb ‘well begun is half done’. A presentation’s introduction, therefore, sets the tone for the whole presentation. It can also set the expectations of your audience and get everyone hyped for your upcoming performance. But sometimes it’s how you start off your presentation that causes you the most frustration!

The best advice is:

  • Keep it simple and easy to follow
  • Set the tone carefully
  • Try to give your audience something for everyone

This might sound like an impossible mission, but a great icebreaker can set the tone for a powerful presentation! Here are 7 of our favourite ice-breaking activities you can apply to start off your presentation engaging your audience:

Let’s move on to discover how game-changing these icebreakers can be!

1. Share expectations

Different people have different expectations and different background knowledge when they attend your presentations. Knowing their objectives can provide a valuable that you can use to adjust your presenting style. When you adapt to people’s needs and meet the expectations of everyone it can result in a successful presentation for all involved.

You can do this by holding a small Q&A session on AhaSlides. When you start off your presentation invite attendees to post the questions they are most curious about. You can use the Q and A slide pictured below.

Some questions that I am happy to be asked:

Expectation Sharing Slide

2. Tell stories

People love it when they’re given the chance to stand in the spotlight and tell their own stories. They might be too nervous to jump right in perhaps scared of saying something not-so-funny.

A good way to do this is to create an open-ended question with AhaSlides and invite the audience add their stories. The topic is of your choice, but the best topics should have something to do with a memorable experience or be related to the topic of your speech.

Through this activity, people are not only able to connect but they can also get inspiration from each other. You can also share your personal story and show the audience, at least a small part, of the real you.

3. Poll your audience

This is another easy and simple way to boost the excitement levels and creativity of everyone in the room! As the host, split the audience into pairs or trios, give them a topic and then ask teams to make a list of possible responses. Then have each team submit their answers as fast as possible to a Word Cloud or Open-Ended question panel on AhaSlides. The results will show up live in your slide show!

The topic of the game does not need to be about the topic of the presentation. It can be about anything that is fun but provokes a lighthearted debate and gets everyone energised.

Some suggested topics are:

  • 3 ways to name a group of animal (Eg: a cupboard of pandas, etc)
  • Best characters in the TV show Riverdale
  • 5 alternative ways to use a pen

4. Live polls, live thoughts

If you’re worried that the above games have too much “typing”, then an icebreaker with a live poll will capture everyone’s attention but take a lot less effort. The questions can be funny and silly, industry-related, debate-prompting, are designed to get your audience networking.

Another idea is to start with easy-going, basic questions and move on to trickier ones. In this way, you lead the audience toward the topic of your presentation and thereafter you can build up your presentation based on these questions.

Don’t forget to organise the game on an online platform like AhaSlides. By doing this, responses can be displayed live on the screen, everyone can see how many people think like them!

Some warm up questions from my presentation
Some warm up questions from my last week’s presentation

5. Two Truths and A Lie

This is a classic icebreaker game with a very simple rule. You have to share three facts, only two of which are true, and the audience have to guess which one is the lie. The statements can be either about you or the audience, however if attendees have never met before, you should give out prompts about yourself.

Collect as many sets of statements as possible, then create an online multiple choice poll for each one. On D-Day, present them and let everyone vote on the lie. Tip: Remember to hide the correct answer till the end!

You can get ideas for this game here.

6. Flying challenges

Icebreakers mostly center around you – the presenter – handing out questions and requests to the audience, so why not mix it up and have them take turns challenging each other? This game is a physical task that gets people moving. It’s a wonderful way to rock the whole room and and get people interacting.

Give out paper and pens to the audience and ask them to think of challenges for the others, before crumpling them into balls. Then, count down from three and throw them into the air! Ask people to grab the one nearest to them and invite them to read out the challenges.

Everyone loves winning, so you can’t imagine how challenging this can be! The audience will be even more motivated if you put up a prize for the most exciting questions!

7. Super competitive Quiz Games

Nothing can beat games at hyping people up. Knowing this, you should have your audience jump straight into a fun quiz at the beginning of your presentation. Wait and see how energised and hyped up they become!

The best thing: This is not limited only to entertaining or easy-going presentations, but also more “serious”, formal and scientific ones. With several topic-focused questions, attendees can get a clearer insight into what ideas you are about to bring them, while becoming more familiar with you.

If you are successful, the preconception that a presentation must be painstakingly nerve-wracking disappears almost immediately. All that is left is pure excitement and crowd eager for more information.

With these amazing ice-breaking games, you can forget about the days when you started a presentation with a mere introduction of your name and jump right into a more fun and exciting presentation.

Create a strong bond between you and your audience with AhaSlides now!

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