The worst thing you can do to start your presentation is thank people. The meeting organizer. The exec who allowed your audience to attend. Jay, the audio-visual wiz, who set up the equipment…. Blah. Yawn. Game over. You’ve already lost your audience.

Your talk gets off to a terrible start and you lose precious credibility with your listeners, who desperately want you to be interesting and engaging.

Instead, start with a story. If the first words out of your mouth are, “So I’m standing in line the other day…” you’ll have everyone’s full attention.