You’re always presenting for your audience. Your presentation shouldn’t be about you.
What type of presentation will give your audience the most value?
What do they need and want?
Your content needs to be relevant to the needs and wants of your audience. Sometimes that’s hard to know but if you can survey them in advance or do some research, you’ll be more on track.
Sometimes, you’ll prepare a presentation and discover during it that you are going in the wrong direction. If possible, change tack and adjust.
What will help them understand and remember the content?
No matter how valuable your content, if your audience won’t understand and remember it, it’s useless. There are several techniques you can use to help your audience understand and remember:
Research has shown that people remember images better than text, so you can include relevant images on your slides. This is called the “image superiority” principle.
People also will get more out of your presentation if they have an opportunity to:
- Ask questions
- Do an implementation exercise
- Answer questions that you ask them
If you think about some of the events that stand out in your own life, you’ll realize that emotional events stick in our memory. Try to add some emotion to your content. One way to do that is to tell stories about successes and failures.
Finally, if you’re presenting lots of details, leave them with a handout at the end so they can pay attention to the broader concepts while you’re speaking without having to take detailed notes. Taking notes is good and has been shown to improve understanding and retention, but when there are many details, writing everything down will hinder people from getting the most out of your presentation.
How can you keep their attention?
It’s your job to engage the attention of your audience. You don’t want them to be bored!
One way is to not divide their attention between you and your slides. So if you put a lot of text on a slide, until they finish reading it, your audience’s attention will not be fully on you.
Don’t use your slides as a teleprompter for you. Think of slides as a way to enhance what you say with images, charts, screenshots, etc.
If you feel it’s necessary to create a number of points on a slide, consider putting them on separate slides. You can create a slide with 3 points on it, go through it quickly, and then follow that slide with 3 more slides each containing one of the points and use those slides to delve into each point. After all, it’s more interesting for your audience to have a change of view for each point and they can focus better on one point at a time.
What will make the most impact on their lives?
Can you inspire your audience? Create a transformation?
Connect the details to the bigger picture. Include basic principles with the specifics. This technique helps people build relationships and place what you’re saying in a bigger context. Our brain likes to make connections to its existing body of knowledge and we learn best when we can make those connections.
For example, if you’re talking about time off policies in your company, include research about the value of time off for productivity.
If you’re selling a copywriting course, inspire them about the impact of words and help them imagine how the right words will increase their sales and what that will mean for their business and their life.
Always think that your audience is saying, “So what?” And then answer that question.
How will you get them to take action?
In the end, you want your audience to take some action. Maybe they should implement your training. If you’re an educator, you want them to study the material for the test. Perhaps you want your audience to buy a product or service.
Even if you are just suggesting baby steps, they should start.
Make your call to action clear at the end. I’ve seen too many presentations without any call to action at all.
What do you do to make your presentations more valuable for your audience?
So now let me ask you a question! What techniques do you use to make your presentations more valuable for your audience? Please leave a comment and use the Share buttons to share this post with colleagues.