From school projects to corporate jobs, all of you would have done presentations at some point or the other. Irrespective of the content or the topic, a critical factor that distinguishes one presentation from the other is how engaging and exciting the presentation and the speaker are.
There are several ways and techniques to enhance your presentation to make it more appealing to your audience. Memorable images and quotes, illustrative videos, and smooth transitions are some such ways. But, if you want to grab the viewers’ attention right from the start, you need a fantastic introduction, and that’s what this article outlines.
The Best Intro Styles for Your Presentation
The purpose of the introduction – either just the first slide or the first 3-4 slides till you get to the main content – is to make the audience ready for the content they are going to see and hear.
1. Add a Suitable Video
A video can convey so much more information in a short span of time compared to pictures or text. Adding a video to open your presentation instantly grabs people’s attention and gets them ready for the content that follows. Use a relevant video that gives the audience a refresher or basic overview of what you are going to talk about so that it is easy for you to start.
Most of the best online video editors available let you crop and edit a video to the required length before presenting. Remember that the video is ultimately just an ice-breaker that ought to last 2-3 minutes at most. Anything longer than that takes away the attention of the listeners.
2. Make a Themed Intro
Your introduction slide – or, in fact, your whole presentation – can be based on a theme, not necessarily related to the content. For example, if you want to have the font of your favorite movie or TV show, like Breaking Bad or Stranger Things, intro makers can create that style in your opening slide or anywhere else in the presentation. Another catchy theme would be that of Star Wars, where you can type your text in the iconic Star Wars crawl format.
The most common use of a particular theme is to modify the font used in the presentation. However, you can also use the characteristic colors, logos, background images, and so on, if they are either appropriate or engaging, without drawing too much attention away from the main content.
3. Display Statistics or Facts
While some people in your audience may be averse to numbers, charts, and data, others often find statistics an excellent method to jump right into the main content. Stats are particularly useful when you are giving a scientific or social presentation, as they highlight the seriousness, extent, or magnitude of the relevant topic at hand. The quirky aspect depends on the kind of stats or facts that you want to display: it must instantly shock them or make them curious.
Don’t use mundane graphs and numbers, but think of how you can present the same uniquely. Search for rare or unusual facts that are still relevant, something striking that people remember. This link that shows the wealth of the world’s wealthiest people is an excellent example of how the right visuals of the facts can have a strong impact on the viewers.
4. Introduce Yourself
Introducing yourself might seem a tame way to start the presentation; after all, why will information about the speaker make the audience feel engaged? However, if you share a funny story or stereotype about yourself related to the topic you are about to present on, it is a good start to the talk.
You can also share a unique fact about yourself or the talk that sparks curiosity among your audience. For example, Jane McGonigal opens one of her TED talks/presentations with this line:
“You will live seven and a half minutes longer than you would have otherwise, just because you watched this talk.”
5. Use Images from Comic Strips
Nothing lightens the mood of the audience like a dash of humor, and the best way to incorporate that into your presentation is by using images from comics. It is unlikely that they support your content scientifically or technically, but a comic used to illustrate a concept often catches the attention of the audience immediately and also conveys a complex point in a humorous and straightforward way.
All you need to do is to Google for some instance or dialogue from any comic strip series like Calvin and Hobbes or Pearls Before Swine that contains something about the topic. Use this sparingly; you still want your viewers to take the content seriously without getting too engrossed in the comics.
6. Animate the Text
If you choose to have only text in the opening slide, you can still get creative in the introduction. Use the animation options to give the text elements some unique effects like entry and exit styles.
Many movie title sequences use this method where there is a plain background, and the name of the film appears in a stylized manner. For example, you can see this technique in Martin Scorsese’s GoodFellas, Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, and Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, to name a few.
7. Tell a Story
Telling a story is often considered the best way to open a presentation, and all the methods described so far are useful for this. When you start a story, the audience becomes engaged. Withhold some essential information of the story to leverage the curiosity of your audience. Use this story to introduce the crux of your presentation to simplify a concept and to make it memorable for the listeners to remember.
Depending on the story elements, you have all the necessary options in PowerPoint and other video or image editing software to create these.
Which Style Will You Choose?
These techniques are not exhaustive, and you can explore your creativity to come with various other introduction ideas to boost your presentation. Try to keep the style appropriate to the content and suited for your audience, but whichever quirky intro you choose to use, you have the software tools readily av