In order to preparing a presentation, we have to be clear. All information available seems to be important. Sometimes, for many of us, it’s hard to distinguish a detail from the information that really matters.
Does the audience need to know all information about the topic? Are they familiarized with the topic? Is there any particular part of the presentation that can captivate the interest of the public?
When you identify your audience, it is possible to check what topics interest them. Otherwise, the presentation can end up with confused listeners who don’t know pay attention to the presenter or to the visual material.
In this post, we will share some tips to help you see clearly what is necessary to include on slides and what you must leave out from your presentation.
Customize the presentation according to the presenter.
It’s always good to remember that an efficient narrative is based on the audience’s characteristics. The focus should be on the public and on the process that you gonna use to show your ideas and, as a result, achieve better results.
The slides, however, should be prepared according to the presenter’s characteristics. The purpose is having clear information and the solution is present just some guidelines to direct the presenter. Either the slides and the presenter should make the subject more clear and easy to comprehend.
The visual support has a big roll in the success of the presentation, but don’t forget it is only complementary information to the presenter. The best slides are always concise and just use keywords, images or short sentences.
Define the main message for each slide.
Instead of passing thousands of information on the same slide, you must choose a main idea for each one. In that way, the presenter won’t get lost while delivering it.
Slides with too much content can make: the presenter confused; the presenter fail the sequence of the speech; the presenter waste precious time.
Before you start to organize your presentation, try to ask yourself: “What is the goal of the presentation? What is the best way to deliver the message? How can I keep the public’s attention?”
When the relevant points are simplified, people assimilate and memorize the information easily.
Pictures or illustrations, when alone, can hardly bring enough information to explain the content. They are just supporting material that makes the communication easier.
Neuroscience studies have shown the power of images in presentations. If we listen to an oral presentation, three days after, we will probably remember only 10% of it. Whit images, the probability that we remember the content rises to 65%. This discovery has already a name: picture superiority effect.
When the presenter knows all content it is easier to use images and, it can be a way of showing that he masters the subject.
The Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, at TED Talks, did a presentation only using personal photos and videos to talk about his experiences in space.
To get somebody to do what you want without realizing your intention, is an art. Even better is when people think they’re doing your thing because they want to.
In most cases, the goal of a Presentation is to convince one person (or many) to pursue an idea, a goal, a cause, a project — even an investment in a new company.
How is this presenting done? Traditionally: with numbers, studies, charts and various types of surveys.
After all, to make a good decision you need to be surrounded by all the information you can get, right? Wrong! … Well, maybe right, but only half-right!
If it were true that information enables accomplishment, everybody would be eating more fruits and vegetables, exercising every day, avoiding fried foods, sugar, salt, and smoking … everybody would be avoiding all that is bad for the sake of a healthier life.
But exercising every day, as some kind of duty, is just plain boring.
Yet, I could easily play tennis from Monday to Monday. Many children hate pumpkins but happily eat pumpkin pie.
So in a nutshell, by making something look like fun, it can become very attractive.
To make a Presentation “fun”, and to get people do things they maybe don’t really want to do or maybe never thought to do before, you need to give your audience a bit of fun, a little entertainment. If it works in your day-to-day life, why wouldn’t it work the same way in your Presentation?
A good example of how to do this is discussed at The Fun Theory site, where you’ll find this philosophy: “Something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behavior for the better. Be it for yourself, for the environment, or for something entirely different, the only thing that matters is that it’s change for the better.”
And check out this video for a nice example of The Fun Theory applied in a day-by-day context:
Now wouldn’t you like to spice up your own presentations with a bit of entertainment?
Do you get nervous when you’re about to make a Presentation? Do you worry about all those eyes and all that attention on you?
Are you afraid you won’t get your message across?
Here are some tips that will help you be a great Presenter!
1. Always keep your goal in mind, so you never lose focus.
2. Know that if you’re on a stage it’s because you deserve to be. And one way or another, you’re the main act, so self-confidence is essential.
3. Keep in mind how your Presentation can influence the lives of the audience.
4. Wear something comfortable and discreet. Don’t look as if you’ve dressed for a special occasion.
5. Never interrupt a question from the audience, it may seem arrogant on your part.
6. Generate an empathetic connection with your audience. One way to do this is to look everybody in the eyes, one person at a time.
7. If you feel that your audience is sleepy or not interested, change your own inner disposition. Your audience is your mirror.
8. Tone of voice also has an important impact, so use it as a tool in your favor. Speak louder, speak lower, speak faster, speak slower.
9. Be coherent. For instance, if you want to motivate your sales team, you need to be the first to be excited during your presentation
10. Remember that your audience is made up of intelligent people, fast-thinking, interesting people who are already interested in your subject.
So get ready by rehearsing a lot!
The story goes that Tom is whitewashing a fence and hating every minute of it. Ben comes by, free as a bird, no chores to do. Ben comments on the work Tom’s doing. And here is what happens:
Tom contemplated the boy a bit, and said:
“What do you call work?”
“Why, ain’t that work?”
Tom resumed his whitewashing, and answered carelessly:
“Well, maybe it is, and maybe it ain’t. All I know, is, it suits Tom Sawyer.”
“Oh come, now, you don’t mean to let on that you like it?”
The brush continued to move.
“Like it? Well, I don’t see why I oughtn’t to like it. Does a boy get a chance to whitewash a fence every day?”
That put the thing in a new light. Ben stopped nibbling his apple. Tom swept his brush daintily back and forth – stepped back to note the effect – added a touch here and there – criticized the effect again – Ben watching every move and getting more and more interested, more and more absorbed. Presently he said:
“Say, Tom, let me whitewash a little.”
Now, Mark Twain may not have written your job description, but things haven’t changed all that much in the 125 years since he created Tom Sawyer. The fact is that in any business, if you want somebody to do a job, you probably have to make it interesting, attractive.
It’s the same thing with presentations. The interest factor needs to be there. And that interest factor is created when your presentation has a storyline that has a beginning, a middle, and an end.
Consider this: as in live theater, presentations normally take place on a stage, in front of an audience. Somebody is performing, and somebody is watching. The lights are up on the stage and down in the audience.
Is this by chance? No! A good presentation, like a good play, tells a good story. And nobody forgets a good story. Who doesn’t remember the tale of Little Red Riding Hood? Instead of taking the shortest route, the girl chooses to go through the forest. In the forest she meets a wolf. The wolf looks nice and offers to help her. But the reader already knows this is not a good thing. Disaster is sure to follow. The reader is clued-in: If you don’t listen to your mother, the consequences can be disastrous.
Now, this moral is never explicitly told in the story. Instead, a storyline has been created that’s full of excitement and suspense, and so it holds the the audience and leads them to the conclusion it wants them to reach.
In corporate life the challenges may be different, but the point is the same. To sell a product, to motivate a sales team, to get a project approved, to convince a group of investors to make a buy — the presentation has to be so engaging that people just want to pay attention. Yes, there needs to be solid content and reason, but there also needs to be the entertainment and excitement factor.
Tom got Ben to do his job for him 125 years ago by making the work sound and look fascinating and interesting. He made Ben curious by tantalizing him. He was creative in his approach. He was slow and careful, the way a fisherman lures a catch: He got Ben interested (beginning), then he pretended not to care (middle), then he reeled him in (end).
If Mark Twain were creating your presentation, how would it go?