We’ve all sat through a bad presentation.
They are so annoying.
The presenter drones on about something they think is fascinating, oblivious to the fact that their audience is bored beyond belief.
The presenter reads off their slides, shows tons of bulleted lists and charts that are too small to read, and throws around data and stats without providing proper context.
Then, at the end, people say, “Great presentation!” But, those same people were checking their email and barely heard any of what was said.
So, the presenter thinks they did a great job, and the problem persists.
Let’s break this cycle of boring presentations once and for all!
Here are 5 ways you can improve your next presentation.
1. Focus your presentation on 1 topic.
People have limited capacity to take in new information.
If you try to cram 3 big ideas into one presentation, you’re going to lose them.
When we feel overwhelmed, our brains decide to just stop trying to conserve energy.
It’s a survival instinct.
So, keep your presentation focused on one thing.
2. Start with the problem.
Our attention is wired to prioritize threats over anything else.
Again, for survival.
So, if you want to grab people’s attention and keep it, you need to focus on a problem that affects them.
Especially if you want them to follow your call to action.
We think that the familiar and status quo are safe, because we’ve experienced them and haven’t died.
So, you need to show that the current situation is not as safe as people think.
Starting with the problem you solve accomplishes that.
3. Avoid jargon
Just because you are an expert in your field, doesn’t mean that your audience is too.
If you start throwing around insider terms and acronyms, you’re going to lose people.
A good exercise is to write out your script as if you were explaining it to a 10 year old.
Use small words, short sentences, and explain things the first time you mention them.
4. Get help with your slides
Your slide deck needs to complement your presentation, not detract from it.
If it’s slide after slide of bulleted lists and poorly laid out images, you’re going to look unprofessional.
A good rule of thumb is to keep the word count per slide to 6 or less.
And, make pictures of people the primary visuals. Your audience will be drawn to them and stay focused on your presentation.
5. Tell more stories
People remember stories WAY more than facts and stats.
Stories create empathy between your audience and the characters. This leads to understanding and connection.
The best stories are about individuals, not large groups.
It’s easy to empathize with one person who’s dealing with a problem. But, when you talk about the millions of people who are impacted by an issue, our brains can’t handle that many people, and stop caring.
Tell more evocative, emotional stores to punch up your next presentation.
Go forth and never lose a room again!
Whenever you’re ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:
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