The cardinal rule Essay
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The cardinal rule in creating a presentation is that the opening must be able to immediately engage the audience and capture their attention. While it is also important to maintain the interest of the audience all throughout the presentation, the first five (5) minutes of the presentation are the most crucial. It is more difficult to capture the attention and captivate the audience during the course of the presentation.
This is the reason why any opening presentation must be able to draw the audience in and the body of the presentation (assuming that it is a very good one or interesting for that matter) will take care of the rest.
It is important to remember however that mere gimmickry or showmanship will not do the trick as the opening presentation must also contain substance because the primary goal of any presentation is to inform and not just entertain.
The key mistakes that presenters often make is to create such an entertaining and amusing opening presentation that it acts as a distraction and makes the audience remember only the opening but not the other relevant segments of the presentation. An example of this would be the presentation of an ad agency agent in front of the Marketing Board of PepsiCo. The presenter had a whole array of media equipment at this disposal and even had mascots during the opening presentation.
While the board was initially impressed, the failure of the presenter was that the hype and excitement that he managed to generate at the opening could not be sustained throughout the presentation. The end result was that he lost the contract and all that could be remembered from this presentation was the opening. An effective opening presentation must therefore be entertaining and informative enough to capture that attention of the target audience but it must not be the highlight of the presentation. Remember, it is the entire presentation itself that matters and not just the opening.