There is an art to opening presentations that takes practice. While no one best way exists to grab an audiences’ attention, experiences show us that some ways are clearly better than others.

From the audience’s point of view, the opening of your presentation is the very first thing out of your mouth. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the five worst ways to start.

1. One of the worst ways to open is with a joke. Some people actually recommend beginning with a joke. I think this is bad advice.

Speakers that go directly for a laugh in the beginning are taking a big risk.

Unless you are a working comedian, it will rarely work out. In contrast, it may be a bad idea to use a humorous or lighthearted tone in your presentation along the way in the right spots.

2. Another weak way to open is with chatter about how nervous you are.

It may win you a momentary chuckle of sympathy, but will only make any nervousness mannerisms you make even more noticeable. Instead of getting people to listen carefully to your message, they will mainly be hoping you just get through it.

You may not have planned to comment talk about how nervous you are but you must resist the urge to do so in the moment.

See the video for the rest of the tips.

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