I am grateful that I often receive favourable comments and feedback after I “give a talk” or present on a given topic. When I stop to think about WHY my audiences seem to consistently take away something of value, I arrive at the following conclusions (I hope some of these will help you as you construct your next presentation!):
1.) Tell STORIES! Each main point of your presentation should have a great story built around it that helps get the point across in a very palatable, entertaining way. Your audience is more likely to remember the story you told about how your client actually USED one of your products than they are to remember a list of facts about your product.
2.) Don’t over-rely on statistics and quotes from OTHER people. Your audience is there to see YOU and hear YOUR views. While startling statistics can (and should) be used appropriately to capture attention, they should not be a main point – they should serve to support one of your main points.
3.) Get your “mojo” working and bring ENERGY to the platform. No one likes to listen to a speaker drone on and on in the same, flat tone of voice (I’ve sat through more droning University lectures than I care to remember). You will not capture your audience’s attention and imagination by standing stock-still behind a lectern (I like to call it a security blanket.) Move around the stage with intention and vary your tone of voice and volume levels throughout your talk in order to help you maintain the audience’s attention.
4.) You don’t have to tell jokes or be funny. A little self-deprecating humour is often a good thing (I invariably let the audience know that I’m a “recovering American” living in NZ and this often gets a chuckle) but don’t overdo it. BE YOURSELF! If you’re not naturally funny in your everyday life, don’t try to be funny on stage – it will fall flat. There are plenty of ways to engage and entertain your audience without resorting to humour.
Try video clips embedded in your presentation, or stories (see point #1), or vivid images (a picture is worth a thousand words, right?), or as I often do, draw up a “live” diagram or chart on a whiteboard or flipchart (depending up on the size of the room).
I’d love to hear your feedback or comments on your speaking experiences and what works well for YOU!