Most presentations are dull and unmemorable. How many times in your life have you actually wished that a presentation would go longer? Generally, we leave presentations wishing the speaker would have stopped sooner. This is why delivering a well-crafted presentation is an important skill in the marketplace. It can leave a powerful impact on the audience and set you apart as a communicator.
Here are three way to make any presentation more compelling:
1. Create a Tension.
Everyone listening to you is dialed in to the same radio station, WII-FM (“What’s In It For Me”). Before jumping into your content, set up your presentation well. Give the audience a reason to listen. Tell them WHY. Even if the subject is boring, there is a reason you are sharing the information, and this should be related to the audience.
If you sharing an abstract concept, give an example. If you are explaining something complex, use an analogy. Great communicators are simplifiers. In addition, if you must use lists or bullet points in your presentation, keep them brief and reveal them one at a time. This is one of the most common mistakes I see. Most presenters reveal all of their bullet points at once. While the presenter is speaking to the first point, the audience is reading the whole list. The audience cannot read and listen at the same time. So when using lists or bullet points, reveal your first point, speak to it, and then reveal the next point, speak to that point, rinse and repeat.
3. Finish Strong.
“Does anyone have any questions?” is not exactly a strong finish. If you want to answer questions, do so before your conclusion. Do not end with a whimper but on a high note. Paint a picture of a brighter future for your audience based on what you talked about. Challenge them to apply what they learned. Tie a nice bow on your package. Leave the audience wanting more.
The ability to communicate well will lift your career. The ability to inspire will make it soar.