One thing that people seem to find difficult when it comes to presenting and public speaking is how to introduce themselves and their business at the beginning of a presentation (for more information on how to start a presentation check out this blog). I’m often asked: Should I do a long introduction? How much detail should I go into about my qualifications and experience? Should I talk the audience through some facts and stats about my company? I have a one-word answer to how to introduce yourself, and that word is briefly.
In my Simply Amazing Structure™ outlined in my book and presentation skills training sessions, I encourage clients to start with a little introduction – and the clue is in the word little! Please don’t tell the audience that the company was established in 1978 and has 67 offices around the globe. At this point, they don’t care and your primary aim is to build a rapport with them. Once you have built this rapport, it might be possible to mention some of these details later – but only if they are relevant.
So, start with your name and the context in which you are speaking to them. For example: “My name is Frank Milligan and today we are going to discuss the new staff intranet.” A quick and simple introduction allows the audience to get into the right headspace. This is particularly important if you are one in a long line of presenters in a day, such as at a board meeting or a quarterly review meeting presentation.
Introduce yourself with confidence and charisma because according to Darlene Price, author of Well Said!: Presentations and Conversations That Get Results, you have roughly 60 seconds to establish a relationship with your audience and grab their attention. After this point, their minds are no longer focused on the presentation ahead.
I advise no more than a three-sentence introduction in most cases, but it can even be done in one sentence. After your brief introduction, you should go straight into why they want to listen to you.
Find out more about how to plan a business presentation.
As I mentioned before, sometimes it can be tempting to give too much detail in a presentation. It’s important to ask yourself why you want to include certain facts. Is it to build credibility? To demonstrate your knowledge? If so, make sure you think about how best to gain your audience’s attention and what they want to hear rather than what you want to tell them.
When you do give the audience facts, try and think about storytelling. For example, instead of saying: “I founded the company in 1978” you could say “It’s hard to believe that when I founded the company in 1978, we started with one employee, £200 in the bank and no heating.” This way the fact (the founding year) almost becomes an aside in a much friendlier, more relatable story.
So remember SAS when it comes to introductions – my Simply Amazing Structure™, and also short and sweet!
Simply Amazing Training offers professional presentation skills coaching and public speaking coaching for companies in and around London, Dorset, Kent, Leicestershire and Hertfordshire. Call us today on 0330 223 4392 for an informal chat to discuss your bespoke presentation skills training requirements.