I am sure if it will not surprise you to know that I have high-level strategies to ensure that any presentation you give will not bore your audience. Okay – I know it is not fool-proof. But at least if you know what to do, and you can find a work-around for any skills gaps you may find!
The first strategy is to make sure that you are speaking on a topic which you are comfortable with, and which you have a great degree of familiarity with. If you don’t then you should only tackle this if you are one of those people who can talk to anyone about anything. A Bill Clinton kinda-guy. Otherwise, stick to what you know well!
The strategy is to remember that less is more. You don’t want to overwhelm your audience with dense information. Stick to the highlights and let them come to the details during question time. There’s nothing worst than when a host has to ask questions because no one has any questions to ask at the end of a presentation!
Which dives quite nicely into the third strategy – keep it interesting. This means what you are saying and what your audience is seeing.
Let’s start with what they are seeing. The tip is to only have the high-level concepts on each presentation slide. You don’t want people to be (a) squinting to read all the print or (b) reading when they should be listening. Use your visual presentation as prompts to deliver your talk. Think of anecdotes to illustrate a point. It is also a good idea to break up the text with pictures, graphs, cartoons – pictures speak louder than words!
Next is your delivery. Don’t write out a complete script and read it. Unless you’re a newsreader trained to put emotion into the delivery, you will sound wooden and disengaged. Instead, your notes should be short bullet points of the key information you wanted to get across. Also, an audience will be kept interested if your passion about the subject matter is displayed in your voice. Use the adrenalin that is no doubt running through you during your presentation to appear excited about your topic – and don’t forget to smile! Another tip to help with that pesky adrenalin is to move around. Moving around will also force your audience to follow you, which reduces the chance that they will get bored. Another tip is to interact with the audience as much as you are able. This makes the presentation interesting because (in the audience’s mind) it is not following a predetermined linear direction.
Your biggest challenge will be question-time. This is when the three strategies above will be most acutely important. Knowledge of your subject matter will be crucial, as will your brevity and the way in which you respond to the question.
If you follow these simple strategies, I can guarantee that your audience will not get bored. Unless, of course, the presentation is about watching paint dry.
Filed under: Strategy & Operations