7 Ways to introduce your presentation

The motto of the cover picture might sound familiar to many people. Even in the context of speeches, lectures and presentations, the saying conveys a very important message in a nutshell: Your introduction to the speech is of great importance!

  • a Quote a famous person
  • a current message or statistic
  • a Image, a sound file or a video clip
  • an (um)Question
  • of a personal History
  • a Historical event
  • a fun action or joke

Info: In case you have lecture in English I have put together some suitable English sentence components for you here.

Not like this: How you are guaranteed to bore your audience

To understand what makes a good introduction and what functions it fulfills, it is worth looking at a typical beginning of a maximum average presentation.

In times of Powerpoint a 0815 lecture (too) often with the classic introductory slide, preferably with some fancy text effects, together with the words spoken half aloud:

"Uh,…yes…hello everyone also from my side and welcome to…uh…my presentation. My name is Hans Muller and..uh…would like to talk about the topic XYZ today."

This typical beginning is often very boring because of its monotony and predictability.

As a rule, there is nothing wrong with the content of this information, but such an introduction ignores almost all functions of a successful introduction!

What really matters in a good introduction

Even before you start with your topic or your presentation. naming it explicitly, show your audience that it is worth listening to you!

A good introduction to your talk should fulfill the following three functions:

  • Attention create
  • sympathy of the listener
  • Interest wake up

So, before you name your topic, you introduce your similar to a Discussion essay on your topic.

You let your audience know, why Your topic is interesting and brings them to want to listen to you.

Do you still formulate this in a a question that arouses interest, so this represents your Leading question or Research question (a bit more formal) which is often demanded. This leading question can or. you should then take up again at the end of the presentation and answer it with.

How you can implement a successful introduction, I will show you in a moment.

Briefly again to the 0815-introductory foil: This fulfills evenly none of the three functions of a successful introduction, but even discourages. Just from naming the topic no one is really motivated and your name is known by most in the seminar and hopefully all in the class…

Often, however, there is the obligation to include these dry information for the sake of completeness in the presentation, even if it is so boring. However, you are forbidden to (hopefully!) but nobody to choose even the best time for this info!

That means you can already use the typical introductory slide Show with topic+name, but first after your actual introduction. This is how I do it in my presentations nowadays.

How you start your presentation

This post also had a specific entry point, namely a motto as the cover; some lout even refers to it as a phrase.

Sententious introduction

A quotation, prefixed and of course fitting to the topic, is one of my favorite entry variants, since in almost all social, historical or political topics famous sentences of famous people were spoken.

This quote can for example summarize the facts of the case (like the saying in this post) or it can have been said at an important moment concerning your topic.

With a preceding saying or quote you create Attention (Function 1: check) and arouse Interest (function 3: check), because you first throw a sentence at the audience and then your listeners ask themselves, what this lecture is about and how the quote is supposed to fit there.

The Sympathy (Function 2) you gain by not boring the audience from the beginning and that they may recognize the line and enjoy it briefly (Function 2: check).

Sententious introduction: examples

Let me now give you a few examples of how I would use a phrase or a phrase. a quotation already used or would use with typical topics:

Delaying fiscal consolidation (Uni, Business, Seminar):

Transition (mutatis mutandis): well-known aphorism, but savings measures are nevertheless often postponed. Today’s topic: Why fiscal policy sometimes ignores this aphorism….

Vergil (school, high school, Latin):

Transition(quote& translation), so Vergil was called by the famous Marcus Tullius Cicero in admiration. Why Cicero was so enthusiastic about Vergil, I now tell you in this paper…

Corruption case in Italy (university, politics, seminar):

Transition: (quote): "This is what Bettino Craxi, head of the Italian Socialist Party, said at a judicial hearing on the corruption case I will present today. And the special thing about this case: Craxi was right!…"

Current Introduction

Very close to an introduction with a quote or saying comes the current introduction"

This also includes current survey results, bspw. Politbarometer polls on a hot topic, or a recently passed law, or simply a newspaper clipping, which would then be a current quote, so to speak.

Through the Topicality you manage it easily, To arouse interest and attention. You show thereby also immediately the Relevance Of your topic, so can well justify why it is worth listening to you on this topic.

To find such current contributions resp. to search at all, should not be so difficult. A Google search with the keyword plus "survey" or a few newspaper names for quotable headlines should already yield very useful results here.

For me, everything that is one year old and younger falls under topicality. Younger is of course always good, but as long as this time span is not measured in several years, I assume topicality. For this, just put in Google search the period to z. B. "last year" a.

Topical introduction: Examples

Soccer in Italy (Part 1):

A comparison with Germany (school, seminar course Italy, 13. Class):

➡ Transition (mutatis mutandis): Very rough stadium climate in Italy, different from here in Germany, especially after the summer fairy tale of 2006. Where do such drastic scenes in bella italia come from; how can they be explained, at least a little bit?

Connection between elections and public finances (university, economy, seminar):

"Vladimir Putin increases pensions shortly before the election" (Berliner Morgenpost 01/2012)

➡ Transition: This headline addresses the link between certain fiscal policies, namely the pension increase, and the approaching elections. It will be in my lecture now around exactly this relationship between…

Delaying fiscal consolidation (university, business, seminar):

"Consolidation of public finances is a must" (Handelsblatt 01/2013)

"French finance minister asserts will to consolidate" (reuters, 01/2013)

"Europe’s deficit sinners get a reprieve" (stz.en, 05/2013)

Transition: France could also count on two years of postponement, even though they had the will to consolidate. However, there is apparently a delay in fiscal consolidation. Around exactly this topic it goes today in my lecture. So it is about explanations why fiscal consolidation measures are not always implemented quickly despite an urgency

Socio-political issue (school/university):

"New study shows: X % of Germans think Z"

Transition: Although X % of the Germans think Z, the current state is still Y. How can this be? I will talk about state Y and the possibility of implementing Z after all in today’s presentation.

Sample topics: NPD ban, minimum wage, tax increases, animal welfare, nuclear power…

A current example of such a study on the topic of opening stores on Sundays can be found at Statista.

Medial introduction

The council to a medial introduction, that is, with a Image, sound or video, you will have surely heard or read (here on the website).

An introduction with media is really a top opportunity to captivate the audience, to get the Attention and especially here also the sympathy. Because somehow one likes a (well chosen!) Picture nevertheless completely particularly. In the best case, this favor will be transferred to you as a person and to your presentation, so that also the note giver will be favorably disposed towards you.

A brief side note here: Caution on the subject of copyright. As long as you lecture in the classroom only in front of pupils/students and the presentation is not a problem not publicly available I do not make myself here a head. However, this is again only my personal opinion, I am not a lawyer, so no guarantee!

Media speak for themselves and you

But back to the media entry. In principle you let the media or. the medium speaks for you.

In my presentations, I’ve used all three of the media types listed before. Therefore here as examples for you the use of me.

But since this is a public website, I now have to respect exactly this just mentioned copyright and am not allowed to upload the exact data used myself, but just give you an idea based on which you could search on YouTube or other platforms. An example how it could look like, but which I have not used so myself, but is still attached with picture.

Media introduction: examples

Polish campaign 1939 the German Wehrmacht (school, history, upper level):

Speech of Adolf Hitler at the beginning of the war as Audio file. On the Powerpoint slide was a picture of Hitler at a speech to see.

Soccer in Italy (Part 2):

A comparison with Germany (school, seminar course Italy, 13. Class): Last two minutes WM semi-final 2006 as Video clip with Italian commentary (link to YouTube).

Transition: Comparison on the field has won Italy. This presentation is about the comparison D – Italy off the pitch, but instead about the topic of fans, infrastructures and club structures.

Federalism in Germany (university, politics, seminar):

Picture Adenauer signing the Basic Law + quotation article 20 GG

➡ TransitionAlready in the GG it is stated in article 20 that Germany is a federal state. That is, federalism is a firm basic principle in Germany. This federalism in Germany is the topic of today’s lecture..

Similar to the last example, you can also proceed with other law texts, should you have a suitable topic in civics (at least that’s what it was called at school) or in politics.

To almost all Basic law text passages fits from my point of view, as just mentioned, Konrad Adenauer.

Interactive introduction

You can also involve your audience in a creative way right at the beginning, a Build a connection and thus let the audience get a feel for the subject itself.

This kind of interactive and creative start ideally end with a positive feeling of the audience, that they already know a little bit about the topic. You show the audience that nothing totally foreign (or even bad) is being said about you and thus also create trust. This gives a good feeling and the audience feels directly "picked up", as they say.

Interactive introduction: examples

You can do this in different ways:

At the beginning make a question or. make a small survey. This can be a very simple question about an umbrella term of your topic, such as. B.: "Who of you has ever seen/done/… XY??" or "Who of you still remembers … the old DM money?". You can follow this up with an assessment of the level of knowledge ("You are already well/not so well informed there…") and then come to the exact topic of the lecture. Or you can ask another, more specific question, which leads even more directly to the topic.

At the beginning let your audience appreciate on an important aspect of your topic: "How much do you value the share of civil servants in the public service in Germany?" and collect some suggestions. Then solve the riddle and congratulate the person(s) who came closest to it. In the question and also in the survey you can either use a white or black foil as starting foil choose, or but you simply write the Question on the first slide.

Let your audience hear some Name terms, they can think of on your topic ("What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the term corruption??"). Collect these terms possibly on a blackboard. Probably (and hopefully) some of the suggestions will also coincide with your presentation content, so you can again praise how well informed your audience is.

Personal introduction

If you have chosen a topic in which yourself already been able to gain experience, then share at the beginning Your Experiences with your audience. This is how you make the topic directly "experienceable", tangible and alive. Keep it short in spite of your enthusiasm, so keep the 1-3 minutes as usual for an introduction.

Your audience understands the topic of the presentation not only as an abstract learning unit, but as something real and something that can be of importance. This type of introduction fulfills function 2 of a successful introduction in particular: gaining the sympathy of the audience!

Personal introduction: examples

Tell about a Stay abroad or. Erasmus, if you (accidentally or intentionally) present a case study on that country on a specific topic.

Tell a anecdote from your internship and the conditions in the "real everyday life" suitable to the topic of the lecture.

Play Piece of music yourself, if you can and feel like it (suggestion see interview with a teacher)

I could already learn from a a visit to a stadium in Palermo in contrast to a story told in Germany (cf. trivia& special moments)

Historical introduction

The historical entry is something like an extension of the current entry to a longer period of time. Instead of current You can refer to dates, events or headlines in the historical introduction especially well known Examples from the story back.

These examples should and will be familiar to your audience.

In this way you show your audience the Relevance of the topic due to its importance in history: your topic or. Points of reference to it were obviously of great importance "back then", so it is worth talking about it even today! History teaches us that ..

Historical introduction: examples

hint that a certain phenomenon already known for XY years is ("Machiavelli already knew…"); here the hint can also be combined with a quote (so that it would also be a sententious introduction)

reference to the work Ludwig Erhard’s/ John Maynard Keynes’s/ Karl Marx’/ Joseph Schumpeter’s/… on capitalism

Spectacular Corruptioncase in the past as a hook for a lecture about corruption in general

Narrative about lies at the beginning of a war for its justification as an example of propaganda / "fake news" (Germany’s attack on Poland in 1939, incubator lie& Weapons of mass destruction in the Gulf wars of the USA)

Humorous introduction

To really grab attention and take the sympathy by storm, you can start your talk with a joke, a planned action full of situational comedy or an ironic remark launch. So with an introduction that makes your audience smile or best to laugh!

If you succeed, the audience will hang on your lips (at least for the first few minutes). But this special kind of the entrance is with Caution to enjoy, because a presentation or. a scientific lecture is not a cabaret! Nevertheless I wanted to show you these Variant for Advanced do not withhold. I have never dared to make them myself, but I have witnessed an example (cf. Special moments).

Humorous introduction: example

  • On the first slide there was a picture of a big ship in the middle of ice floes. This had nothing to do with the topic (public finances!). my colleague started with the words: "This is myIcebreaker…(pause in speech)…I hope it works". Then there was a short silence and finally everyone, including the lecturer, laughed and yes, the ice was broken.
  • The next Example is a video, that speaks for itself. Only a few can do that… to YouTube
  • Tell a (short) joke relevant to the topic, z. B. on the subject of public service: What do officials like to play? Civil servant Mikado…whoever moves first loses…At least that’s how the cliche about civil servants goes…today we’re taking a more nuanced look at the civil service in Germany…

Introduction: test combinations

Just by the example of the medial entrance you see that the presented entrance types are not separable are, but also to combine very well!

As in the last example you can use a Combine a picture of a person with an important text excerpt. This works especially well, if you show the author’s portrait in addition to the quote (sententious introduction). To this representation there are even still two tricks , in order to obtain still a better effect..

Very similar applies of course also to sound files. To talk or to music pieces you can create a image of the speaker or. musician. That’s how I did it above with Hitler’s famous speech.

Sententious entry and current entry are close to each other anyway, so that here a current quotation also as a sententious introduction applies.

A guessing question at the beginning can very well with a graphic be completed with the correct numbers.

A personal history is done with a suitable picture even more vivid. Usw.

I hope that the presented possibilities to start a lecture in an interesting way have inspired you for your next lecture inspires and choose one alternative to the 0815 opening slide enthusiastic ..

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