The secret to a good presentation is to identify and address the needs of the audience. While engaging with them when you are on stage is an important factor but what runs through the projector forms the very base of your presentation. It is an indicator of how well you have thought of your subject and your audience while preparing the presentation.
Your slides are not a mere background, they are a referral point. The audience should be able to look at it from time-to-time and get a general idea about the content of your presentation by walking through the stop-points of the story that you are narrating.
Now, it becomes important to make your presentation interesting, engaging and captivating. At the same time, you also need to ensure that the attention of the audience does not completely shift from you to the screen. Balancing these twin requirements seems like a challenging task? Not much!
Here, we have 5 tricks for you which will help in making your presentation top-notch.
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1. Build a Story
In this click-and-snap world, the attention span of the audience is continuously reducing. People lose focus within a blink of an eye. It, therefore, becomes hard to keep them gravitated towards your presentation.
The key to keeping them captivated is by narrating to them a story and making them a part of that story. Do not give your audience the traditional objective-based bulky slides. Focus on engaging them in your presentation.
Skip the usual introduction slide and drop a bomb in the beginning. Convert the objective of your presentation into a question and start the presentation with an inquisitive fact. Now, feed the curiosity of your audience, address them from time-to-time. Target their emotions. Put emphasis on the main points and make them think. Try to answer as many queries as you can in the presentation.
However, make sure that your story is relevant to the subject of your presentation. Do not include useless points just for the sake of fabricating the story. Use examples to convert factual information into a plot. Take the help of pictures and your slides will act as a storyboard.
This will not only keep your presentation interesting for the audience but will also make them retain it. This is due to the fact that the human brain retains stories for a longer period as compared to general information. This simple hack will make your presentations so much better and will have a long-lasting impact on the people viewing it.
2. Use Short Bullet Points
Scientists are of the view that the human brain lacks the tendency to multitask. Doing more than one thing at a time confuses the brain and it cannot focus on either of them. When it comes to presentations, creating text heavy slides will confuse the audience.
They will be in a continuous dilemma, whether to read what is written on the slide or to listen to what you are saying. They will, in turn, lose touch with you, entirely.
It is advisable to keep the text to a minimum. Breaking your text into points, making headings for those points and including only those headings in the form of bullet points is a great way to keep the text short and crisp for the audience.
It will not only save them from getting scared of the long paragraphs but will also give a generalized brief of what all you are going to cover in a particular part of your presentation. It will, therefore, increase their engagement in the presentation as they already have an idea of what you are talking about.
3. Use the Technique of Visual Communication
Many cognitive scientists have proven that it is easier for our brains to retain information presented to them in visual form as compared to text. This is due to the fact that reading is a tedious task while looking at colorful pictures and graphics is appealing.
Include a number of illustrations, graphics, charts, and tables in your presentation. You can also use bullet points as tools of visual communication. Convert your text into graphics wherever possible.
However, do not use complicated graphs and charts. Keep them very simple and easy to understand. Otherwise, they will take your audience further away from your presentation.
4. Keep the Design Simple
Using decorative backgrounds can prove to be distracting for the audience. Therefore, try to avoid them. Use subtle backgrounds and simple layouts for your slides. There should be a balance between the verbal and visual elements of the text. White space is a best-friend when it comes to presentations as it gives space to the audience to relax and analyze.
Also, use simple, readable fonts and keep the font size high so that the audience can easily read your text from a distance.
A simple rule for designing your slides is 10-20-30 law. It was given by Guy Kawasaki and states the various requirements for a presentation. According to this rule, a presentation should not have more than 10 slides and should not last for more than 20 minutes. The number 30 represents the font size. According to Kawasaki, the font size should not be less than 30 points.
5. Include Facts
Giving generalized information in a presentation does not impress your audience much. It leaves a lot of unanswered questions in their minds and they keep pondering. It, thus, indicates a lack of research on your part.
Therefore, it is crucial to include some facts and figures in your presentation. Present these facts in the form of comment boxes or data charts to make them look even more interesting.
Including facts will add a dimension of credibility to your presentation. This will make you look trustworthy. Your audience will now be able to believe in you. Your presentation will, therefore, be embraced and appreciated.
Giving to your audience the same black letters structured to form boring, generalized points will only bore them. Play around with words, give them a story that they can carry in their minds. Make your presentations interactive. However, do not include long paragraphs. Convert text into illustrations and graphics. Use facts and figures to support your arguments but do not overcomplicate the structure and design of your presentation. Keep it subtle and use readable fonts. Employ the “10-20-30” rule for building your presentation.
Featured image source: Freepik