The 12 most successful entrances for presentations

Already in the first minutes of a presentation it is decided whether you can enthuse your audience for your topic or whether you are boring. That’s why you need to get off to a good start if you want your presentation to be as successful as possible. We’ll show you the 12 best ways to start your next presentation.

There’s a saying that first impressions don’t get a second chance. The audience usually decides after a few moments whether they find a speaker interesting and listen to him longer, or whether they switch off inside. Therefore, you should pay high attention to the introduction of your presentation.  Prepare the beginning with great care, then you have a good chance that your audience will listen until the end.

Align the entry point with the target audience.

To get off to the right start, it’s important to know who you’ll be speaking to in the first place. If possible, tailor the presentation to your audience’s wants, needs, and sensitivities. Graphic design students need a different approach than representatives  of the craftsmen’s guild or physics professors. Try to find out as much as you can about your audience to find the best approach.

Building blocks for combination

I would like to give you a toolbox whose components you can combine with each other as needed for the right start. You usually need several components to get a good start on your topic.

The 12 most successful entrances for presentations.

I will now introduce you to the entry points for presentations that have proven particularly effective in years of practice:

Starters for Presentations No. 1: Greeting Variations

Formal greetings come in countless varieties. Try to use variations to the usual “good day” or “good evening” that provide an arc to the event. Find an adjective or description of the morning, day, or evening that makes an initial theme connection.  At a fitness event, for example, you might greet guests with “an energetic good morning.”


  • I wish you a successful good day
  • I wish you a morning that will blow you away
  • A dream good evening
  • A varied good evening
  • A refreshing good morning


Look for commonalities with your audience and create a connection that way. Pick an event or situation that is likely to move most people in the room and talk about that topic. Use it to build a bridge to the audience. Then redirect to your topic, building a second bridge. This results in the double bridge.


  • Phew, it’s a heat here in the room. Are you hot? Yes I feel the same way. I wish I could cool you off a bit. Instead, I’m going to give you even more reason to sweat with my talk, because it’s about global warming.
  • As I walked through the building here, I noticed all the interesting pictures hanging in the hallways. You might pass them by carelessly after a while, but I saw them for the first time today and I’m impressed. Great pictures also have something to do with our topic today, because it’s about visualization.


Think about what points you want to talk about in the presentation. Package the points in the announcement in a way that makes you sound exciting and promising. So you explain what the audience can expect and make them curious.


  • … one of my tasks is to check the safety in companies. In the next few minutes, I’ll tell you about the seven typical security vulnerabilities that exist in almost all organizations and how to fix them. At the end of the presentation, you will know what to look out for in the future and what measures to take …


Look for current info in the media that relates to your topic.


  • Did you happen to read the new issue of Manager magazine? There’s a great article about Lufthansa’s takeover bid for Condor airline. Today, companies can quickly become takeover candidates. But there are effective levers that protect companies from getting into such trouble. That’s what my talk is about.
  • The Institute for … just released a study that says the incidence of strokes is increasing sharply. In today’s talk, I’ll show you ways you can prevent it yourself.


Start with a quote from a well-known personality that relates to your topic.


  • From Adam Smith comes the sentence “The greater the market, the greater the prosperity for all”. In my presentation, I will show you that he was absolutely right.
  • Arthus Schopenhauer once said “Especially health so outweighs all external goods that truly a healthy beggar is happier than a sick king”. We have been aware of the importance of health for centuries, although we rarely act on it. Today I will show you how to improve your health …


This entry is a classic and contains five components.

  1. You give your name to the audience.
  2. Explain why you are competent to talk about the topic. For example, that you are a lecturer on the topic XY, that you are a successful entrepreneur in the field XY, or that you have written several books on the topic XY.
  3. Set the stage for what viewers can expect and what information they will receive.
  4. Here you can use a PowerPoint slide, for example, to explain the flow and components of your presentation.
  5. Credibility. Include a statement that underscores your credibility. Briefly reference a study or statistic that underscores that your concern is significant.

ENTRANCES FOR PRESENTATIONS NO. 7: The provocative entry

If you begin your presentation with a provocative thesis, perhaps even an accusation, you will usually have your audience’s attention immediately. As a rule, we automatically respond to provocation with attention. The speaker tries to take us out of our comfort zone, which triggers curiosity, maybe even indignation in us. In any case, we then also want to know how the speaker justifies his thesis.


  • I keep reading from doctors and associations that an adult should not consume more than 150 to 200 milligrams of vitamin C. These doctors should be disbarred, because obviously they want to kill you. In my lecture, I will show you that you should consume at least 1 gram per day.
  • Have you made proper provisions for old age? Yes? I’m telling you, no, you didn’t. You made the same 3 cardinal mistakes that almost all people your age make. I will show you in my presentation …


You all know the so-called “cliffhanger”. In series, this creates tension at the end of an episode so that the audience wants to know what happens next. How does the hero get out of the hopeless danger, how do the lovers find together after all? You can take advantage of this curiosity to start your presentation. You create your own “cliffhanger” that keeps your audience’s attention.


  • You’ve probably all heard that there is no such thing as a truly successful long-term diet. That is also correct. With just one exception. This diet is amazingly simple and yet it is still an absolute secret. By the end of my lecture, you will know how to lose weight safely using this method.
  • You may wonder what this object could have to do with the subject of my talk. In fact, he has a lot to do with it. Let yourself be surprised, at the end of my talk you will know what I mean.
  • You can find more about cliffhangers here.


A question from the speaker directed to the audience thus brings attention. You can ask a rhetorical question or a very specific one.


  • Who of you arrived by train today? That’s quite a few. I also took the train because despite the delays it is still the most pleasant way to travel. Besides, you can also use the time well for work. I want to talk to you today about time management and that includes….
  • Honestly, how many of you have never had problems with digestion? But I see very few hands there. I felt the same way for over 30 years. Today my digestion works like Swiss clockwork. I will tell you how I managed to do that in the next 20 minutes.


This is about briefly outlining your own experience with a topic. In doing so, you assign competence to yourself, since you know what you are talking about, and you also build a bridge to the audience.


  • I have been a mountaineer and mountain guide in the DACH region for 23 years. I have now climbed all the eight-thousanders, including the dangerous entry via the west face of K2. I am really experienced in this field. Nevertheless, four years ago I made a rookie mistake that cost one person his life. Routine often turns into carelessness. I had buried myself for over a year after that, but a book brought me back out. In my talk today, I would like to explain how I use mental training from this book to help people stay mindful and highly focused at all times.
  • I lived on nothing but junk food until I was thirty. Two liters of Coke a day, fatty hamburgers, French fries and candy bars. By the time I was thirty, my body couldn’t take it anymore and I had my first heart attack. I had to radically change my diet after that. I hated it at first. Then I developed my own recipes to better help sugar and fat addicts change their diets. I will present the basics in my talk today.


If you let the audience know in the opening what benefit or gain they will get from your presentation, they will usually listen to you throughout the presentation. After all, there is a reward beckoning. If you make your audience want to hear your presentation, you will captivate them from the very beginning.


  • Today you will learn how you can do more for your fitness with only 5 minutes of training a day according to my method than with an hour in the gym.
  • When you go home after this lecture, you will know exactly how….
  • After this presentation, you will know how to use the tool and how to achieve spectacular results with it in no time.



This entry is ingenious and dangerous at the same time. Whoever masters it immediately has the goodwill of the audience. Everybody likes to laugh. We like to listen to a speaker who makes us laugh. It’s just that telling a joke is an art in itself. You have to be able to judge your audience to some extent, because not everyone laughs at the same joke. And, of course, you have to be a good joke teller. You can practice that to a certain extent, but unfortunately you don’t become funny with instructions. If you are good at it, you have particularly good cards with this entry. If you are unsure, it is better to leave it alone.

You can find more information about designing presentations in my book

The Magicbox for presentations.

For more tips and tricks on PowerPoint and presentations, sign up for our newsletterhere   . 

Speaker and PowerPoint Trainer Matthias GartenDipl.-Wirtsch.-Informatiker Matthias Garten as the expert for multimedia presentations and professional PowerPoint presentations knows about the art of professional slide design. He is an entrepreneur, speaker (TOP 100 Speaker), trainer (TOP 100 Excellence Trainer), multiple book author, presentation coach (presentation training), member of the GSA and Club 55, organizer of the Presentation Conference, Presentation Bootcamp and Presentation Rocket Day. In addition to PowerPoint and presentation training, he inspires and advises companies to present themselves even more effectively and thus stand out from competitors. He is the business owner of the presentation and PowerPoint agency smavicon Best Business Presentations and with his team has created over 10,000 professional PowerPoint presentations for over 150 industries since 1993.