4 secrets of presenting so people listen - Part 2

In the last article I explained how your voice and body communicate something to your audience long before the content of your words hits their brains. Today I’ll share two secrets on connecting with your audience and wise use of slideware.

Content is nothing without connection

Theodore Roosevelt said, “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” A presentation is not just about content delivery. It’s about connecting with people. Audiences today need to feel and experience your presentation, not just hear facts rattled off to them.

Here are just a few tips on establishing a connection with your audience:

  • Grab your audience’s attention: Make it memorable. If a picture says a thousand words, then a short video can be a library. Using LiveSlides to embed a video in PowerPoint you can grab people’s attention and set the foundation for your presentation.
  • Put first things first: Once you have your audience’s attention, jump right into the most important thing you have to say.
  • Be honest: Truthfulness and clarity are hugely important. Don’t exaggerate your case. State it clearly, and acknowledge possible weak points. You can even elicit feedback either during the presentation or provide a means for people to contact you afterwards. Someone else may have the solution to your dilemma.
  • Care about them: You may be the one on the stage, but one of the surest ways to connect with your audience is to care about them, to be mindful that in their minds this presentation is about them, not you. One way of doing this is by offering a warm greeting. Ask how they’re doing. Even if it’s a large crowd it gets them involved in an emotional way. Another way to engage your audience is to elicit their feedback. This can be done through live polling or embedding a tweet wall in your presentation.

Use presentation slideware wisely

The invention of PowerPoint and other similar presentation tools was a major development in the world of presentations. Words and images presented in inventive ways can appeal directly to your audience’s imagination, adding power to your spoken words. As mentioned above, a picture can say a thousand words. But presentation slides can also be distracting if not used carefully.

  • Keep slides simple: Don’t overload them with text. One of the worst offenses presenters make is simply to use presentation slides like a teleprompter, loading them with text, and simply reading off the slides. Boring! Keep words to a minimum. Think in terms of pictures.
  • Show it, don’t write it: Slides are best used for photos, diagrams, graphs, schematics, illustrations, flowcharts and even video as mentioned above. Rather than describing your research results, show a picture. Instead of pasting a screenshot of a project management dashboard, embed that live dashboard in the slide.
  • Be judicious: Having an overabundance of slides can also be detrimental to your presentation. Restrict slides changes to key moments in your presentation. If your picture, graph, or embedded web content truly is speaking a thousand words, then give people time to process it. Your spoken word, coupled with an illustration they can soak in will drive the point home better than rapidly snapping from slide to slide

There’s a story about a Psychologist who was asked what he does when he feels down. He replied “I find someone in need and help them.” When you truly care about your audience it’s easier to connect with them. When you make the presentation about them and deliver with confidence they’ll sit up and take notice. When you provide relevant illustrations which draw them in and hit their emotions, lives can be changed. At the end of the day, it’s not really about making a better presentation; it’s about improving lives. It’s about making a better world (or at least a less boring world).

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