The introduction of a business presentation isn't an invitation to talk only about yourself. Although you should introduce yourself to listeners, you can use the time to connect with the audience and preview what it is that you'll be presenting. As with any first impression, it's important to get this right. Consider that an effective introduction sets the tone for the entire presentation and is absolutely vital for communicating your message clearly.

State your name, title or position, and the company you represent right away. Narrow this down to one or two brief sentences. Whether you're presenting to a few familiar faces or a packed auditorium, maintain professionalism by saying who you are before you speak. That way, your listeners will understand the connection between you and the presentation after it's been concluded.

Establish your credibility by highlighting any experience you have or accolades you've received in your industry. Keep this brief and to the point; don't resort to bragging. The objective is to let your audience know that you're qualified to discuss what's at hand.

Introduce listeners to the overall theme, goal or topic that your presentation will focus on. As a first step toward preparing your listeners for the coming message, talk about a broad idea that will help them understand your perspective. This can be as simple as telling about how you got the notion to work on a project or a theme that's been a driving force for your department.

Discuss what's coming up in the presentation by briefly outlining your talk. It's fine to say that you'll first discuss one thing, followed by another, and concluded by another. This not only gives structure to your presentation, but will help guide your listeners through the talk and give them clues on what to expect. There's nothing worse than a sea of blank stares when listeners aren't able to follow your presentation.

Give explicit instructions pertaining to questions or comments that might arise during your presentation. For instance, if you don't want to be interrupted, ask that your audience save any comments for the question-and-answer session following the presentation. This will ensure that your presentation flows nicely from one idea to the next without your having to worry about being interrupted and losing your train of thought.