You’re in front of a bunch of people, you know what you want to tell them but you’re not sure how to do it. Transmitting the right message to your audience (staff, clients, etc.) is not that simple. Having something to support your pitch is a good way to help you with this, but it’s not enough; you also need to know how to pitch in order to deliver your message.
Respect your audience: a visual aid is not a teleprompter
Let’s make a PowerPoint! First of all, PowerPoint is not your only option. There are numerous other tools that exist such as Prezi, SlideRocket or easel.ly. Prezi for example offers an alternative to the linear slide-based presentation by enabling you to present your idea in 3 dimensions. If you really want to use PowerPoint however, please first read, PowerPoint is evil by Edward Tufte!
Whatever the support you’ll choose, here are a few methods you might want to use to back up your pitch with powerful slides (for more details, check out this article from Attach):
The Takahasi Method: Deliver a high-impact message in a very short period of time by using ideally no more than 3 words in a large type and on a solid background.
The Lessig Method: Incorporate a quote or a short sentence synced with what you will actually say.
The Monta Method: Hide parts of text blocks or graphics to stimulate audience curiosity.
The Godin Method: Use images to make highly visual slides that reinforce your words, not repeat them.
The Kawasaki Method: Use the 10-20-30 rule by displaying 10 slides in 20 minutes with text on each slide set at 30pt font.
What you say matters less than how you say it
Now, you know what you want to say and you have powerful slides to support your message but you still have to transmit it to your audience. And you know what? Only 7% of your message is transmitted by words, the rest depends on your body language (55%) and your tone of voice (38%).
As well as that, your audiences perception of you depends more on what they see than what they hear (82% vs. 11%), which means that what you actually say matters less than how you say it. (Source: Gengo).
To put it in other words: you would captivate your audience more, by presenting a boring subject with high-energy and conviction, than presenting a more exciting subject but in a low-energy and monotonous way.
People get bored; keep their attention
You have some great slide and you have your audience’s attention with your remarkable body language (just to be clear, this is not to be confused with sensuality).
Guess what? The average human attention span is approximately 5 minutes which means that your audience will “tune out 84% of your 30-minute speech” according to Sean O´Brien.
So how do you get their attention again? Unfortunately, there is no reset button but you can use some of these methods to support your presentation:
Tell stories: we all love a good story.
Crack a joke: but be sure it’s a good one.
Ask rhetorical questions: intrigue them.
Ask polling questions: make them part of your story (even if they just raise their hand).
Ask inquiring questions: draw their attention to the root of a problem.
Take questions from the audience: make it a 2 way street.
Do something unexpected: You don’t have to do anything crazy. You could go and stand among your audience while you present for example.
And before presenting, ask yourself honestly, if you were in the audience, would you listen to your presentation?
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