This morning I was chatting to a friend called Bob Jury whom I met at a breakfast networking meeting in the lovely little town of Hartley Wintney in North Hampshire.   Despite the early hour, Bob was on top form as usual.  We were discussing how people “sell” themselves at networking events and in particular the impact they make by the way the say their “elevator  pitch”

Bob is in the business of website design and produces easily update-able websites however he explained that he has also worked in the world of entertainment for many years.  “As a performer, If you start of with a bang and finish with a bang then it doesn’t really matter what you say in the middle!” said his words hold a lot of truth for me.  

I don’t mean that your content isn’t important but, if you don’t hook your audience’s attention quickly, your message is unlikely to stick no matter how well crafted it is.   Also, if your presentation fizzles out at the end like a faulty firework, guess what your audience will remember!

How do we start with a bang? Here are some ideas to get you going:

  • Establish relevance – clearly establish how your audience will benefit from the content of your presentation.
  • Identify a relevant problem that your content will solve.
  • Tell a short and relevant story that set’s the scene and arouses their curiosity. 
  • Pose a question.
  • Say something controversial.

How do we finish with a bang?

  • Restate the problem and summarise your solution.
  • Tell a punchy story or anecdote that sums up your key messages in a memorable and interesting manner.
  • Tell your audience what you want them to do next and ask for a commitment from them to do it.
  • Be passionate and enthusiastic.

 By the way you can find out more about my friend Bob by visiting his website


  1. Hwa Linnert on 30/01/2010 at 04:51

    this is a good blog. will come back regularly to read more article

  2. Terry Gault on 16/04/2008 at 22:03


    You are absolutely right about the importance of the opening and closing sections of a presentation.

    In the beginning especially…it all seems like chaos. Your thoughts, your mind, what you want to get across, what you want to tell your audience.

    To create an effective presentation, you must create order out of this chaos.

    The ancient Babylonians portrayed chaos as the dragon-like Tamat, the Chaos Monster. To create our ordered universe, the cosmos, Tiamat had to be slain and her body cleft in two, one-half forming the heavens and the other the earth.

    To create a structure for your presentation, you will have to face your own “Chaos Monster” and, like an archer, master the organizational techniques that follow.


    Like the archer’s release of the arrow, the Opening of a presentation should begin in silence as the archer takes a breath and centers himself. As the archer pulls the bow string back, potential energy gathers, and then “twang!” the arrow accelerates in an explosion of energy, sound and speed. One moment — quiet; the next — a blur of action that demands attention.

    When you stand to open your presentation, center yourself like the archer. Allow a moment of silence as you visually connect with your audience. Focus on individual faces in the audience. Let the silence build tension and audience anticipation. Then shatter the calm with something that demands that people turn their attention away from their private thoughts and tune into what you are saying. Use an opening technique — “a hook” — and deliver it with dramatic voice, gesture and technique.


    The completion of your presentation is your target — a bull’s-eye — a great Conclusion. To avoid allowing your Conclusion to fall short of its mark, let the audience know when you are in the process of concluding by saying: “In conclusion…” or “What does it all mean?” for example.

    In addition to content, make sure your vocal inflection clearly signals the end of the presentation and not merely a pause. Write out your final sentence so your voice signals the concluding syllable (Usually the volume goes up in the last few words then down for the final syllable.). End with authority and certainty.

    After the Opening, the Conclusion has the second highest impact of your presentation. It leaves the audience with the final impression of you and your message. Human beings seek completion and resolution. Without a clear Conclusion audiences feel left hanging. Provide your audience a powerful sense of completion by crafting a strong Conclusion.

    Thanks for the comments Gavin.

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