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Public Speaking: The First 3 Minutes

 This is it! You’ve landed your first Public Speaking engagement. You’ve have prepared and rehearsed. You are all ready to give your best presentation ever.

As you begin you have exactly 3 minutes of your presentation to grab the audience attention and build rapport to ensure they buy in to what you have to say. 

In the first 3 minutes of your presentations, your audience is sizing you up. They are deciding whether they like you and whether are you worth listening to. If you lose your audience in the first 3 minutes you will be playing catch up for the rest of the presentation.

Why at the first 3 minutes of your public speaking engagement is most important period of your presentation?  This is the time where the attention of the audience is naturally high and focused. Here is where the audience decides to hear you out or not. First Impression counts and you have only one chance at it.

In this crucial period you need to build rapport with your audience. Rapport is a prerequisite for effective communication. Before presenting any material you must build rapport with your audience. 

When people are like each other, they like each other. When you have enough rapport with your audience, they will feel acknowledge and engage with you in your presentation. 

You can build rapport with your audience by; 

- Using the words they use. Use their Jargon’s and preferred terms. 

- Use the same tonality and say it like they do 

- Use the same gestures and postures. 


People create bonds with each others by finding shared experiences. Tell a story to your audience which relays to them that you are exactly like them.  Meet as many of your audience before the presentation and build rapport with them individually. 

Right form the start let your audience define their own expectation and do your best to meet those expectations. Experiment with different types of openers to see which builds more rapport for you and with your audience. Be flexible, use as many different openers and evaluate your results. The openers which build more rapport with your audience for you will be the best ones. The types of openers that you can look into are;


o       Current Events 

o       Humorous 

o       Pictorial 

o       Anecdotal 

o       Pertinent Quote

o       Real-World Situation

o       Rhetorical 

o       Musical

If you have built enough rapport with your audience in the first 3 minutes of your presentation the rest of your presentation will move smoothly. You will have an engaging audience and you will be able to have fun with them and be yourself on stage. 

Remember the first 3 minutes of your presentation is the most crucial of all. Start off your presentation with the right foot.

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