Even outgoing authors get butterflies before school assemblies or other presentations. A little anxiety is a good thing! But don’t let nervousness to derail the rest of your presentation.One way to avoid this is by having a signature opening.
A signature opening means that you choose specific way to begin each presentation. Since the opening is something you are used to doing time and again, this can help calm your jitters. Here are some examples of types of signature openings
- STORIES. Start by telling a story – not just “When I was a kid I loved to read,” but tell a specific story that demonstrates your passion for reading. People remember stories better than lists of rules or maxims.
- IMAGES. You might click through a series of photos wordlessly before you begin, perhaps with some funny or unusual ones included. This shared experience bonds the audience and helps them anticipate your core program.
- POLLS. Ask a question that all kids can answer such as “Where in the room are my kindergartners?” and then go on up through the grades. Or “How many of you love good stories?” Or “How many of you sometimes get stuck on what to write about?” Whether they raise their hands or not, the question itself requires kids to pause and think.
- ACTIVITY. Engage the audience in an activity. If you’re comfortable getting kids to join in, have them join you for a song, a chant or just to clap along with something you perform.
All of these techniques can help you capture the audience’s attention, but do what feels best to you. A signature opening can oil the gears of your presentation. Once you get rolling, it’s easier to stay rolling. Before long, the butterflies calm, and you’re into the core of your presentation, having a good time.