5 Principles for Starting a Presentation Well
These are from the notes I took from an article by Chip and Dan Heath (authors of Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die):
- Don’t preamble—parachute in.
- “The first mission of a presentation is to grab attention.”
- A preamble is a laborious overview of what’s going to be covered. Don’t start with this. Don’t follow the “tell them what you’re gonna tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them.” Steve Jobs doesn’t present this way. Ronald Reagan didn’t present this way.
- Example: Rebecca Fuller presenting on tactile museum exhibits. She parachuted in by shutting off the lights and saying “this is what it’s like for a blind person in most museums.” It wouldn’t have improved here presentation to say “today I’m going to give you an overview of the challenges faced by the visually impaired in most museums.”
- “If you bring us face to face with the problem, we don’t need a lot of upfront hand-holding.”
The most important point: parachute it. “Telling them what you’re going to tell them” usually reduces interest.