Having just completed our cohorts second client project, I’m becoming a lot more comfortable presenting. It’s interesting seeing how my own presentation style is developing as well as observing our the others in the team go about presenting their work to their audience.

Recently I’ve noticed the importance of a strong, clear and dumbed down introduction and conclusion so I thought I’d write a few thoughts on the topic.

  1. Context is Key: There’s nothing worse than attending a presentation that jumps right into the content without providing any context or overview. At that point the audience is likely lost from the get go as it’s a lot of effort to try to fit the pieces together of what the talk is about, why it’s important and who’s presenting. As presenters, it’s crucial to remember that the introduction is not for us but for the audience. By providing a slow, simple, and dumbed-down introduction, we ensure that everyone in the audience starts on the same page and has a clear understanding of the topic at hand.
  2. Setting Expectations: An introduction that clearly and concisely states what will be covered during the presentation sets the audience’s expectations. By using simple sentences and repeating key points, we establish a framework that helps the audience follow along and grasp the main concepts. This approach allows them to engage actively throughout the presentation rather than getting lost or confused.
  3. The Power of Repetition: Repeating key points and summarizing them in simple terms during the introduction and conclusion reinforces the main message of the presentation. This repetition helps solidify understanding and ensures that the audience walks away with a clear takeaway. By employing this technique, we can increase the likelihood of a memorable and useful impact on the audience.

To summarise, the intro and conclusion of a presentation are crucial to help the audience register what the talk is going to be about, who’s presenting it and why it’s important. Repetition, slow sentences and even dumbing down the language and speed of delivery are all useful and will increase the chances of the audience being aware and initially engaged with your topic. The conclusion helps reinforce what you talked about and some useful takeaway that you want the audience to remember a day, a week or a month after the presentation. By nailing both the intro and conclusion you’re well on your way to delivering a memorable, slick and professional presentation.

Tim Fawcett
Author: Tim Fawcett