We all know the feeling. You sit down for a presentation and, on the projector screen, Powerpoint slide 1……0f 20. A sight that’s sure to cause shoulders to drop and induce groans from around the audience. There are ways, however, that a presentation (even a lengthy Powerpoint presentation) can be ‘spiced up’.
As advised by Guy Kawasaki. A Powerpoint presentation should consist of 10 slides at most, as this is the limit of most peoples interest. Each of the 10 slides should either share something new (which the audience learns from) or address and solve an issue or problem. The presentation itself should be limited to 20 minutes and the fonts used within the slides should be no less than 30 points.
Look at the audience and talk to them
One of the key ways in which you can engage the audience is to look at them whilst talking, after all, your speaking to them. Don’t just stare at one or two people and ignore everyone else, make eye contact with as many of your audience as possible. Imagine that the person you’re looking at is the only person in the room. Try not to sound as if there is no one else in the room, use a bit of passion in your voice.
If your able to achieve the above, then your presentation will become more conversational and people will engage with you, as they will feel you are engaging with them.
Turn your presentation into stories
A great technique for making your individual points, remarks and suggestions more appealing is to use stories or anecdotes. Explain your thought process, what made you think of a particular solution or how you learned of the information you are now sharing. If you involve people in your story, this increases the attention of your audience, people like hearing about people.
Don’t over prepare
Know what you are going to say, and make sure that the presentation works but don’t rehearse over and over again. Over doing the preparation will build your nerves and not do you any favours.
Have fun and show your personality
Don’t be afraid to show the audience your personality, it will make the presentation more interesting and you will feel more at ease. If something goes wrong, don’t panic, it happens to everyone, laugh it off or make a joke about it, and carry on. It’s not the end of the world.
Use the audience
Involving the audience is a great way to maintain attention, increase engagement and provide something a little different. Invite suggestions, where appropriate, during the presentation to an issue that you can then explain your solution. For audience participation to work well, they need to trust you. This shouldn’t be a problem if they already know you (hopefully!). Don’t make anyone feel uncomfortable, this isn’t nice and it will dissuade others from getting involved.
Don’t read from the slides
The audience can see what is written on the slides, they don’t need you to read the text for them. The slides should act as the particular points of interest for you to elaborate on and discuss. If your reading from the slides, your not looking at the audience!
People in the cheap seats should be able to hear you clearly, you don’t want a portion of your audience completely missing what you have to say. In larger spaces, use a microphone, in smaller rooms you can simply ask if everyone can hear you. Take a deep breath before you begin to speak and don’t speak too quickly, take your time to pronounce each word clearly.
I always find that after giving a presentation, or speaking publicly, I want to do it again immediately afterwards and have actually enjoyed the experience. Try to have fun, it helps you relax and you’ll be more natural and engaging. This will in turn make your presentation more appealing and the audience will remain engaged and take more information away with them.