As with everything, there is a right and wrong way to do something. Opening a presentation is no exception.

Many people use the techniques below to build a connection with their audience. However, it usually builds a weak and undesirable connection that does not position you as a leader.

Speaker focus

Questions. Questions don’t always bond the audience to your message, nor does it get them agreeing with you. Questions are risky – what if no one answers? To get around this, speakers often ask a low risk or irrelevant question. This weakens your positioning.

Jokes. There is a reason why most jokes can’t be told in polite company – it’s because they have a victim. If the audience relates with the victim more than you, they won’t like you. You’d be hard pressed to get a joke that relates to your message.

Platitudes. Many speakers think the audience wants to have their ego stroked and open by telling the audience how wonderful they are and how they are honoured to be speaking. The audience doesn’t care about how you feel about speaking to them – they care about themselves.

Apologies. Starting with an apology does not set you up as a leader. By definition, it puts you in a position of weakness. The audience wants a strong leader, not a weak speaker.

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