How to breathe life into your presentationsJun 03, 2021
Death by PowerPoint? You bet.
Zoomed out of your mind? Absolutely.
There’s no doubt about it, presentation fatigue is endemic. Not just for those people who are sitting through hours upon hours of screen time, but those obliged to sit in a room with yet another presentation whose content should have been condemned to its grave years before.
And it’s not just about the poor attendees. If it’s your job to regular deliver presentations – whether virtual or ‘in the room’ - you are probably bored too, unless you are working to refresh, renew and breathe life into your content and delivery.
The good news is that there are a tonne of free tools now available to make your presentations more interactive and engaging. Despite this, at The Communications Works, we know that in essence, the message is always more important than the medium – so whilst tech plays a huge part, it’s always more about the presenter, the content and the delivery.
Change it up
You’ll be so used to your content that delivering it will feel like second nature. Not necessarily a good thing. Yes, you absolutely do need to ‘know your stuff’ but if it’s boring to you, it certainly will be to your audience. Even if the content is rigid, the format and framework doesn’t need to be. Maybe it’s time to tell the story in a new way?
Really know your audience
The same presentation delivered to different audiences is never going to resonate exactly the way you’d like. Pay particular attention to who exactly is attending and how you might engage with this particular group better? Maybe certain case studies or anecdotes, stats or statements will appeal more or less to different sectors or people. Personalise your presentation for them as much as you can.
Short is sweet
It’s not always possible, due to the weight of the content you need to deliver, but like written communications, we’ll bet there are slides in there that really don’t need to be. When you are refreshing your content, make sure to take a hard look at your presentation and be brutal in the edit. Shorter statements and messages usually have more resonance to the audiences, so really think about cutting unnecessary information. It keeps people’s attention and also saves you from watering down important data, facts or figures.
Tell a story and relate
Numbers, graphs, buzzwords and business babble – the easiest way to lose an audience. Sometimes super relevant – but are you sure? If you need to explain anything, you need to think about the other points above. If your audience can’t relate with the content, they are immediately confused or disengaged. It makes it un-relatable. We can also relate with our audience via storytelling. Make comparisons that people recognise and make data simple. Remember to tell a story… chapter by chapter.
It’s NOT about ‘leaving them wanting more’ when it comes to presentations, you need to leave them feeling satisfied and understood. End your presentation with a strong focus on the learning points, a recap or a call to action. What do you need them to know as they leave? What are the most important points that you have covered? Repetition is key to learning. Use an important idea, quote or question.
The end – part two
Do we need to tell you to PRACTICE?
Tried and true – this is where you can work on your speech, play around with intonation and pauses, hand gestures, the works. If you’ve switched up your content and breathed some new life into your presentation, you’ll need to rehearse. We used to recommend in front of a mirror, but of course, now you can happily record yourself all day long. Did we mention getting tired of seeing yourself on screen? Maybe that’s a subject for another blog post!
Creating and delivering presentations can feel overwhelming - The Communications Works offers training and coaching with media, journalists and PR professionals all with global, top-tier experience. Preparation is crucial to a successful outcome for your brand or organisation, and we can help with creating your presentation, training for delivery, and message creation for key spokespeople and heads of organisations. Download our brochure here or get in touch for a bespoke quote to meet your presentation or media training needs.
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