“A moment of intense joy is worth a week of moderate joy,” reads an excerpt on memory in the Brazilian magazine, “Super Interessante.” This makes us realize that what we do at SOAP, improving corporate presentations, is after all, a way of creating an intense moment that will stay in an audience’s memory.
In the same magazine, a study by Paul Fraisse, a French psychologist, reveals that the present becomes the past every 3 seconds. This means that every 3 seconds, all the information that goes through our minds becomes stored in memory.
The conclusion? We see and experience life through memory!
But how do we create a moment so intense that it will leave a strong trace in the memory of an audience? How do we make sure the message stays where we send it?
Here are some strategies to ensure audience retention of your message:
- Each script line/sentence should prepare the audience for the next.
- Every animation, every sentence, every gesture of the presenter should generate a reaction among the audience (surprise, joy, anger, curiosity, relief, etc.).
- Nobody remembers what happened on September 10, 2001, but September 11 is a date people will never forget. So have in mind that the final moments and the more intense moments in a presentation are the ones that stay in the memory of an audience.
- Don’t leave your audience too much space to “think.” Create a story that contains interesting elements at every moment. Preferably, every 3 seconds!
- Use pictures that can be instantly assimilated, preferably pictures that will appeal to both the conscious and the unconscious of the audience.
- Choose a few awesome moments that will remain forever with your audience. As in the movies, these awesome moments should be “turning points” in the presentation.
- Define the climax of the presentation before you’ve even finished your script.
- Think of the most interesting and impactful way to get your audience from “point A” – the beginning of your presentation – to “point B,” the climax.
- Express the most meaning with the least amount of text, speech, gestures and slides.
- Have in your script only what matters and what strengthens, sustains and emphasizes your main message.
Now we want to finish with a TED talk, in which the presenter tries to summarize more than 1,000 TED speeches in just 6 words, in 3 seconds. We said he tries, not that he succeeds! Take a look….