5 tips to turn your presentation from good to great
Modern communication channels are filled with noise, making it harder than ever to get your message across.
Presentations are a powerful way to combat this, capturing the attention of your audience and communicating your messages effectively. The backbone of a great public performance is planning, preparation and practice. Whether it’s a speech in front of hundreds or a presentation to a client, understanding your own content and following these three P’s can make all the difference.
Read our five tips below to ensure you deliver an engaging and effective presentation every time.
Keep it simple
The purpose of your presentation should be clear from the beginning. Your introduction should cover your key points. This is where content competes with presentation for the audience’s attention, so it’s crucial to get your introduction right. Start with a personal anecdote, relevant quote or use a tone of voice that is upbeat and builds rapport. There’s nothing more mind-numbing than a monotone!
A simple structure will also help the audience understand your key messages. After a concise introduction, introduce your key points and provide an example or research that supports each one. Your conclusion should remind the audience about these points in a simple and punchy way. Throughout your speech, use plain English to engage your audience and prevent them from ‘checking out’.
Allow for visuals
When preparing your speech, remember to make it visually engaging. A psychological study from the University of Iowa revealed the use of visual aids, such as hand movement, body language and slides, significantly improves an audience’s ability to remember information. Their study of 100 students concluded that auditory recall is weaker than visual recall. Human beings have several senses, so remember not to get stuck only on verbal content when preparing your presentation. Your notes on screen should be visual signposts to help clarify the overall message. Including your entire speech on slides will only overwhelm and distract the audience.
Also, remember you are a visual for the audience and bad body language can make a presentation change from powerful to pitiful. Make eye contact, smile and stand up straight. These small changes will show the audience your confidence.
Colour psychology is an important part of presentations. The colours you choose for your presentation slides can directly influence the mood of your audience. Blue and purple are great choices for building relationships and engaging the audience, while yellow can make them feel positive and hopeful. Remember to keep colours consistent with your brand identity for a professional feel.
Interact and engage
When presenting, you have the opportunity to communicate on several levels. Prepare your presentation to include pauses and interactions. This will refocus the audience’s attention and provide a conversational element. People are generally more invested in a conversational setting, so incorporate audience engagement into your presentation to maintain engagement.
The 10-20-30 rule
Holding attention is difficult. Another trick to keeping your audience interested and engaged is the 10-20-30 rule. Created by professional public speaker, Guy Kawasaki, the rule has three simple steps:
- Only use 10 slides. According to Mr Kawasaki, ‘a normal human being cannot comprehend more than ten concepts in a meeting’.
- Stick to 20 minutes. Research conducted by biologist John Medina suggests the brain begins to lose focus after 9 minutes and 59 seconds.
- Make your font no smaller than 30 points. This will ensure the relevant information is kept to key points on screen and the audience isn’t distracted by lots of information.
Incorporate these simple steps into your next presentation to make sure it’s a winner.