Presentation Openings

Do you open a presentation by introducing yourself?

Typically presentations often start with the speaker saying their name and the name of their company or their name and the title of their talk. But just because the majority of people do it that way, does it make it right?

I don’t think so.

Starting your presentation by introducing yourself and telling everyone your name is boring and counter productive. Very few people will actually remember your name by the end of the presentation, because when they first heard it the had no real need to know it and no desire to remember it.

At the start of a presentation you need to instantly grab the audience’s attention. The reaction you are looking for is a “Wow, I thought this was going to be good but it really sounds great, I had better pay attention and listen.” 

How can you gain that type of reaction? Rarely by saying your name.

There are many ways of capturing your audience’s attention:

  • Ask a question, possibly a rhetorical question
  • Make a confrontational remark
  • Give a thought-provoking quotation from an acknowledged source
  • Tell a good personal anecdote
  • Do, show or say something unexpected

The key to a good opening is to make people think; to wake them up and make them pay attention.

Once you have gained their attention, it is wise to establish some credibility and trust with your audience, so that they know you are worth listening to. This maybe the point at which you introduce your name and the company you represent. If the company is a market leader that may be sufficient, to establish your credibility. Different audiences will have different views on what makes you credible, so ensure you have considered what this audience are likely to see as credible, don’t just boast of past achievements.

However, you don’t need to state your name to be credible. I think the best time to say who you are is near the end of your presentation, once everyone has (hopefully) been impressed with your presentation content and delivery. It is only then that they have a reason to remember your name.

Take a tip from the world of stand up comedians. When do they say their name? Not at the start of the act but at the end. Michael McIntyre will invariably end his act with “Thank you , I’ve been Michael McIntyre, goodnight”. His audience are then far more likely to remember his name.

Next time you give a presentation open with an attention grabbing statement, not your name. 

Thank you I am Graham Young and my presentation skills website is

All the best


One Response to Presentation Openings

  1. […] The best ways to open a presentation are discussed here. […]

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