If you’ve been on a presentation skills training course you’ll have been taught that you should use a ‘hook’ to open your presentation.´
Let’s first clarify what we mean by a hook. It’s something that grabs your audience’s attention. It’s something different and original that makes the audience think, ‘how interesting’! It could be a story, a video clip or a quotation for example. All TED Talks begin with a hook – they make it obligatory for the speakers.
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But wait, I might hear you say. ‘A TED Talk is NOT a business presentation. I would feel uncomfortable beginning my presentations with a story etc! Nobody does that in our company.’
This may be true, but that doesn’t mean that ‘the way everybody has always done it’ is the best way.
Using a good hook that is unexpected and original but totally related to your presentation topic creates an excellent impression – the impression that the rest of your presentation is going to be interesting which means your audience will be prepared to listen to you for longer.
It will also make you stand out from the crowd. If YOU are remembered for doing something different, your presentation message is more likely to be remembered.
But I get it. It takes courage to be different.
So I encourage you to be brave.
You can start with small steps. Try a ‘soft’, simple hook such as a question or problem to think about. Or what about a quotation if your topic is quite universal? If your hook is completely relevant and you link it coherently to the objective and key message of your presentation, you will engage your audience. You can then move onto ‘bigger things’, more daring hooks such as a story, a personal anecdote or a video clip.
Then you’ll start becoming creative and notice all sorts of sources that could be used as hooks for the typical presentation you give at work. It almost becomes a fun game!
Presentation hooks engage an audience. They excite us and inspire us to reflect on a topic and message in an original way.
Be brave. Use a hook in your next business presentation!