Three Simple Tips for More Engaging Presentations
The presentation is the focal point of many webinars. Of course, speakers add the all-important emotional component – the inflections and animation that connect you to your audience on a human and personal level. But when your webinar is over, the thing that many people retain in their mind’s eye will be your presentation slides. Why? Because we’re visual creatures whose brains retain much more of what we see than of what we hear or read alone.
Attendees often follow along with a webinar using the slides, and the slides will be their primary source of reference after the webinar ends. Needless to say, presentations should never be an afterthought. They can’t be a task that gets done in a few short evenings before your webinar launches.
Ideally, your slides should engage your audience. You need to capture and keep their attention, not distract and lose them. The most effective and engaging presentations are designed well, both in content and in form. Here are three basic tips that will help make your presentations more engaging and memorable.
- Remember that less is more. There’s nothing engaging about a slide crammed with text in 8-point type. A presentation shouldn’t be used as the speaker’s personal teleprompter; no one wants to hear someone simply read the text on a slide aloud. Slides should reinforce, illustrate, or supplement what the speaker is communicating. Use slides to concisely summarize main points (one or two per slide maximum), spotlight customer testimonials, emphasize real-life examples, and present data that strengthens the speaker’s messages.
Consider making ordinary bulleted text more visually attractive using tools such as “Smart Art” in PowerPoint. Not only is Smart Art a more engaging way to present bulleted information, but it also gives you a way to show your audience how points fit together logically instead of merely talking about them.
Which leads to Tip 2 . . .
- Augment your presentation with visual aids. As you create your slides, look for places where a picture, chart, or other graphic will help you describe something or bring home your message more effectively. Perhaps you’re describing a process for developing a new system, or you’re presenting sales data by demographic breakdown, or telling the story about a customer who uses your product in a unique way. Look for places like these when a diagram, chart, photo, or other visual aid can enhance your presentation and make a more significant impact on your audience.
Infographics fit this bill very well. Infographics are wildly popular for good reason. They’re composed of visual elements reinforced by text. People remember infographics. They’re a great visual way to deliver specific messages and focus viewers’ attention on stats, facts, and data points.
When relevant, add a brief video clip to your presentation. Customer testimonials and explainer videos make great fodder for this.
- Structure the presentation for your audience. It’s surprising how many presentations are created without giving thought to the audience who will see them. If you’ve promoted your webinar as a spot where value will be revealed, make sure to deliver that value very early in your presentation. Then reinforce it throughout the remainder of your slides.
If you’re addressing customer pain points, your presentation could be in a challenge/solution format. Or perhaps you need to introduce deliverables first, followed by supporting information with background and history last.
Whatever approach you take, ensure that it’s logical for your audience. And always give them what they came for.