The first few minutes certainly represent one of the most decisive moments of any presentation. This is because the audience is still fresh and curious to know how you will address the topic and what they can expect to learn during the session.
ADDRESS YOUR PUBLIC’S CONCERNS
As we have seen in the article "A Few Tips for Your Presentations - Analyzing the Target Audience", one of the basic questions you should ask yourself when preparing any exposé is "What is the attendance expecting to learn?" Indeed, the presentation is supposed to address the hearers’ concerns regarding some issues they are (or will probably be) confronted to in their personal and/or professional lives.
So, this is the moment to capture the public’s attention by showing them that the issues you will be addressing in the course of the session are relevant to their (present or future) experience and that you will be able to provide applicable answers.
PROVIDE EXAMPLES OF REAL-LIFE APPLICATIONS
You may thus, for example, start by giving an example of some real-life situation that you or someone else has encountered and successfully coped with thanks to the approach you are going to introduce.
Moreover, if the participants are not familiar with the issue (or if some of them have not chosen to be here, as sometimes happens), this is a way of getting them interested by showing that they too could have to deal with it at some point.
For all these reasons, it is important not to push too quickly towards the presentation of the "solutions" before making sure that the audience fully understands the problem and its concrete implications in their lives.
However, as a general rule, you should keep the opening phase as short as possible, so people won’t grow impatient to get to the heart of the matter.