How to start a presentation

Looking for a good way to start a presentation? We’ll walk you through several types of example openings you can use to get your audience’s attention.

Not all presentations can speak for themselves. If you have a slideshow that automatically plays at a kiosk or in a waiting room, there’s no worries about introducing yourself. But if you’re announcing a new product, hoping to get donations, or want to persuade your audience to do something, you better have a good opening.


Use an attention-grabbing opening

Starting a presentation can be as intimidating as beginning a speech. And it’s pretty similar, right? Whether you’re presenting in person or via video, you have an audience there to hear what you have to say (and show). It can be nerve-wracking especially if you’re not versed at public speaking.

“Hi, I’m Jane and I’m here to talk about a new product called the Dream Weave Sleep System. With our system, you can sleep better, longer, and feel more rested when you wake.”


By grabbing your audience’s attention from the get-go, you’re more likely to pique their interest and keep them engaged. Let’s take a look at several alternative ways to start a presentation.

Tell a personal story

For a successful presentation, you must connect with your audience, and it takes more than eye contact. By opening with a personal story that leads into the topic, you can show that you’re more than a presenter, you’re human.

For a presentation on your toy company’s new product, talk about a toy you loved as a child or for your slideshow about modern parenting styles, tell a fun story about your own parents’ parenting methods.

Use a bit of humor

Many types of presentations can benefit from humor. For a light-hearted way to begin the show, you can tell a joke or funny anecdote. Although this can be a challenging way to start a presentation, it works!

Like other suggestions below, be sure that the humor is appropriate for the topic, suitable for the audience, and isn’t offensive.

Imagine starting the presentation for your company’s new adventure vacation packages with: “You don’t need a parachute to go skydiving. You need a parachute to go skydiving twice.”

Ask a question

Opening your presentation with a question is a great way to involve the audience from the start. You can ask a direct question or make it rhetorical. You can use a “what if” question to invoke emotions or a “why does” prompt to make them think. Just make sure the question directly relates to your presentation topic.

Using our earlier example for the Dream Weave Sleep System, consider these openings instead: “How many hours of sleep did you get last night?”, “How long did it take you to fall asleep?”, or “How many times did you wake up in the middle of the night?”.

Use a quote

Another way to open a presentation is by using a quote related to your topic. It could be from someone well-known and respected that provides an impact. If you go with this type of opening, be sure to remember the quote correctly and that it’s relevant to the presentation’s purpose.

As an example, you could be presenting at a team-building conference and open with: “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. This quote from Helen Keller isn’t just words. It’s what we’re here to do; learn to work as a team.”

Open with impact

If your presentation is for a fundraiser or charitable organization, opening with an impactful statement and a slide to match can have quite an effect. But using a shock factor to start your slideshow can be a fantastic way to engage your audience.

The key is to make sure this type of opening is suitable for your audience and will also invoke the desired result.

For a healthy food presentation, you might start with a few junk food facts: “Did you know that a milkshake from your favorite fast-food restaurant contains over 50 different chemicals?”

Speak statistics

One final suggestion for your presentation opening is the use of statistics. Numbers don’t lie and when you give a couple of surprising facts about your topic, it can be an eye-opener.

For instance, your presentation on the spread of germs and bacteria could start with: “75 percent of people use their (cell) phone in the bathroom” or “Washing your hands a few times a day can reduce diarrhea rates by 40 percent.”

Introduce yourself

Regardless of which opening you choose, don’t forget to introduce yourself to your audience before you get into the slideshow content. Give your name, position, and any clarifications necessary for the audience to understand who you are and why you’re there.

And remember to show enthusiasm about the topic, make eye contact with the audience, and be genuine!

Edit your presentation with Plus AI

Creating a presentation takes time. Editing a presentation takes even longer. With Plus AI for Google Slides and Docs, you can get help adjusting your slideshow content to better fit your topic and audience.

Open your existing presentation alongside Plus AI’s editing tools. You can then rewrite the current text to add more detail, shorten the paragraphs, or jazz it up to increase its appeal.

For educational slideshows, revise the content for an academic audience or for a sales presentation, rewrite the text to be more persuasive.

Using artificial intelligence, you can update your content in just minutes, whether using your own instructions or one of Plus AI’s presets.

For complete details on features for new presentations and existing slideshows, head over to the Plus AI website.


No matter which presentation tool you use, Google Slides, Microsoft PowerPoint, or a similar application, starting with a strong opening is key to a successful presentation.

For help creating a slideshow from scratch or updating a current one, check out Plus AI.


How do you present professionally?

The University of Washington suggests these tips and others for a dynamic presentation:

  • Talk to your audience, not at your audience.
  • Show enthusiasm about the topic.
  • Present your slides in an organized structure.
  • Recognize the knowledge level of the audience.
  • Illustrate your points with examples.

How do you present correctly?

Be prepared to engage your audience using eye contact and body language and use a strong opening to get their attention. Before the show, consider presenting to a friend or family member to get their feedback and make adjustments. Also, rehearse and practice several times before the presentation.

How do you end a presentation?

When the presentation comes to an end, here are several things you should do:

  • Summarize the main points.
  • Reiterate the key message.
  • Present a call to action.
  • Acknowledge presentation contributors.
  • Thank your audience for their attention.
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