The best presentation jokes involve self-deprecating humour, so being able to laugh at yourself is a must. Your audience may read personal things into your choice, so choose carefully. Example — If someone gave you a candle, some thumbtacks and some matches, could you attach the candle to the wall so the wax doesn't drip onto the table? But are you opening your presentation in the most engaging way? Or, promise to tell them the answer at the end so they listen throughout. His story is powerful not just because it's illustrative of the wider problem he's describing — but because he expresses genuine emotion as he tells it. Example — It's widely accepted that girls tend to do better than boys in school. I change my name each time I place an order at Starbucks. While traveling through the daily path of life, have you ever stumbled upon a hidden pocket of the universe? We know that Malaria kills half a million people each year, and we've had a cure for it since the 1600s.
My younger sister, Jessica, arrived home one day reeling about the shirt that her friend had worn to school. An effective twist on this is revealing an unimagined connection between our current actions and things happening in the future or in far-flung places. Asking questions can be an effective way of prompting your audience to have an 'aha! Sword in hand and clad in medieval samurai armor, I dragged myself into the battleground as I faced my opponent, a warmongering giant. Almost the whole audience responds and demonstrates, very quickly and simply, how endemic a problem stress is. It may also help them feel more comfortable about sharing their ideas and joining in if that's a part of your presentation. The reverse of this is to take something seemingly scary or complicated and make it very simple.
. Leave the puzzle open-ended but direct your audience to some place they can find the answer if you want them to continue engaging with your content after the talk. Opening questions are usually rhetorical as you're asking the listener to self-analyse, but you might like to direct them somewhere that they can share their ideas or experiences with you. Telling the story of someone you admire demonstrates your values. People are likely to have personal associations with famous quotes or speakers so be mindful of these too.
On a hot Hollywood evening, I sat on a bike, sweltering in a winter coat and furry boots. As an Indian-American, I am forever bound to the hyphen. Sitting cross-legged on the floor of a Bhimanagar slum dwelling in Bangalore, I ran my fingers across a fresh cut on my forehead. I have been surfing Lake Michigan since I was 3 years old. Maybe you're hunching, crossing your legs, maybe wrapping your ankles? Tying what you're saying up with physical memories will help your audience retain information for longer.
This was the first time thoughts of death ever crossed my mind. Good for — Helping the audience recognise a problem or come to some conclusion. Example — Shawn Anchor's perfect comic timing makes this opening anecdote side-splittingly funny. You could also exaggerate a story for effect. If they're a more obscure choice, there's no harm in reminding your audience of that person's credentials. Some fathers might disapprove of their children handling noxious chemicals in the garage. Good for — Waking up your audience's brains, inspiring curiosity.
I was paralyzed from the waist down. Dan Pink's candle puzzle challenges us and provides a springboard for discussion of what motivates us in the workplace. The story of a customer proves you listen and take pride in providing a good service. Good for — Giving your talk respectability, summing up an argument or an idea. Example — Amy Cuddy makes her audience 'do a little audit' of their bodies.
Good for — Relaxing your audience, building rapport. I stand on the riverbank surveying this rippled range like some riparian cowboy — instead of chaps, I wear vinyl, thigh-high waders and a lasso of measuring tape and twine is slung over my arm. Take something alien and make it close to home. The humour makes it easier for us to open up to what he's trying to say, making the serious message of his talk all the more impactful. Good for — Explaining ideas in an accessible way, synchronising the audience's emotions with your own.
Telling a personal story may make us feel vulnerable, but it's an opportunity to show confidence and character. Good for — Making your audience care, making complex ideas simple. Here are 8 tried-and-tested techniques for opening your presentation with a bang. Take something farfetched and make it seem real. The surprise factor will have them hanging on to your every word.