How to NOT bore Audiences in Presentations
If you’re a human with a job, there’s no getting around presentations; giving them, getting them, or having to sit through them. If the presentation is boring or contains nothing of value, it’s not the decks fault – it’s the presenter! Ed offers his tips for How to NOT bore Audiences.
When you’re in front of an audience, you have an opportunity to communicate something of value, and maybe even entertain. A strong presentation, even if it’s only 10 minutes, may just give you the edge you need to close your deal, get a raise, or get buy-in for your plan.
Here are 7 tips on How to NOT Bore your Audiences in Presentations
Know the audience’s expectations
This includes location, who is in the audience, presentation type and expectations of deliverables before going in. There’s nothing worse than preparing a formal 30 minute presentation if your audience was expecting a casual hallway chat. Knowing what is expected of you (and how much time you have to deliver it) will help you avoid a presentation fail before getting started.
KISS (Keep It Simple…Silly)
Depending on the need to create a visual aid, one of the best rules is to keep it as simple as possible – people simply can’t pay attention to more than one thing at a time. Think you can multitask? False. No one can multitask – we can just share attention.
Lots of words on your slide? Your audience will just read. Complicated visuals? There isn’t a chance they’re going to listen to you – they’ll be too busy looking at your graphic (shiny always wins). You’re the lead actor, and your deck is your supporting character; any visual aid should support you (and not the other way around).
Use (impactful) materials
Pictures, videos, or sounds can be powerful tools for communicating your message. Have a long presentation? Break it up and use a visual to tell the audience where you are. Complicated concept? Nothing says “I know what I’m talking about,” and gets a laugh quite like a well-timed gif. Show your audience what you want to convey instead of telling them. Great supporting content means they’re far more likely to understand and remember your content. (Demos are a great example of this)
Create a story
One of the few things in business more precious than time: attention. Nothing is quite as effective at keeping an audience’s attention than a good (and concise) story. There’s something relatable about storytelling that will be more effective in communicating your ideas, and making them stick, long after your presentation has ended. Just make sure your story is authentic and relatable!
Take a pause
Even the most thoughtful and interesting ideas will be lost when said too quickly, and can often go misunderstood. Make sure to time in some pauses to let your audience soak in what you’re saying and assist in pacing the flow of information. It can help reduce some of your stage fright, and the audience will perceive you as more thoughtful. Double win!
Interact with the audience
Listening to someone drone on without space for input is one of the hardest ways to take in information – it’s boring! Your audience wants to know what’s in it for them – otherwise they’ll start thinking about things they care about (when do I have to pick up the kids? Did I leave the stove on? What’s happening on Maury right now?) This could be as simple as surveying the crowd for interests or feature points, or you could personalized tasks and demonstrations. Your audience will thank you and leave having also invested in your success.
Practice. Practice. Practice. Then Practice Again.
While some of us are better at improv than others, it’s always a good move to rehearse your main points. Know what you want your audience to leave with and practice how you want to communicate it. Some flexibility may be required depending on the situation but having a solid foundation in which to improvise from is the best way to achieve success and remain calm under pressure. And read the room – some audiences want a more formal presentation, while others love some good jokes thrown in.
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