6 Opening Lines to Avoid

Written by Ellie Thien

June 7, 2017


You only have seconds to capture your audience’s attention before they lose interest. A great opening line, story, or joke draws in your listener and secures their interest in your message. While a killer opening can be hard to find, here are some phrases you should definitely never open with:

  1. “This will only take a moment . . .”

This tells your audience that your presentation is not worth more than a “moment” of their time. Have confidence that your message is worth sitting through!

  1. “Sorry, I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare so bear with me . . .”

Never make excuses for your presentation. The audience will automatically think this is not your best work even if it is really great material.

  1. “I know what you’re thinking, ‘Sales pitches are the worst!’”

If they weren’t thinking that, they are now. Jump right into your presentation and show your audience why your topic is the best.

  1. “Before I get to my presentation, I want to tell a quick story.”

Your story should be part of your presentation. Separating the two tells the audience it’s okay to tune-out the opening and wait for you to get to your main points. Start with a great story that captivates your audience and leads them to your message.

  1. “Can you read this?”

This question is worthless since there’s nothing you can do in the moment if they can’t read your slides. Check the space you’ll be presenting in and your slides before your presentation so you’re sure everyone can read everything from the back of the room.

  1. “Umm . . .”

Starting off with a mumble of confusion or hesitation shows lack of preparedness and confidence. Have a killer opening line prepared for your presentation to grab your audience’s attention.


Skip these excuses, uncertainties, and self-deprecations at the beginning of your presentation and start off with a strong and compelling opener to lock in interest in your message!