Have you ever imagined yourself standing on the stage after all the long nights of preparations and presenting your work to the audience? Then suddenly, when you have not finished your speech, rotten tomatoes are being thrown at you. People start leaving your event in disappointment and you fall into deep despair without any clue why all of that happened. You have put so much effort into getting your presentation ready. What could have gone wrong? The smell of boring presentations!
In a world where there are so many ways to be creative, it is very easy to end up with a boring presentation. The attention span of a listener is very short nowadays, and being able to keep people engaged is critical to making a good presentation. Failing to do so will inevitably make your presentation boring. So what are the pitfalls and how do you tie the gordian knot of boring presentations?
Here’s a list of advice to help you make your presentation as good as possible.
1. Do not be indifferent to your audience
Very often people and even our friends refuse listening to us when we start a long conversation on a topic that is uninteresting or inapplicable to them. For example, we may talk about the yummy pizza we had the other day, while our friend is allergic to cheese. Or we may want to discuss the new scientific bestseller book, while our friend enjoys fiction.
One of the tips to avoid a boring presentation is making sure your audience knows that you care about them:
- learn about your audience beforehand,
- use examples that relate to their professional background,
- address the dress code of your listeners, e.g. if you are going to present to the artists, they would hardly enjoy the black and white suit you are wearing. Try to become one of them with your look.
Having these done, you will keep your audience interested enough to follow your speech.
2. Avoid using too many buzzwords
“The felicity of your soul will be reflected in a tranquil glance of yours after using this product.” Very nice, sound and not understandable! After listening to a presentation with such content, every member of your audience would get bored. Professional vocabulary is good but who cares if your listeners have no clue what you are talking about? Do not try to show them you are cool, prove them that you are by delivering a meaningful and comprehensible presentation. Do use terminology as needed but make sure that every single person understands what those words mean. Try keeping your speech simple stupid!
3. Avoid wordy slides
What audience hates the most is having to read an “essay” on your slides. The slides need to support your speech and keep the listeners focused on the topic. For that reason you may want to use bullet points and keywords or short sentences in each of your slides instead of long paragraphs. Remember, it is you who should talk, not your slides! Therefore, in order to keep your audience interested, reduce the word amount in your slides.
4. Do not use trivial images
It would be so counter-creative to give a presentation about tomatoes and have pictures of tomatoes on the slides. Instead, challenge your audience. Make them think and linger about your topic and your slides. “Why is there a person on the treadmill in the slide?” It is because tomatoes have a number of health benefits and one of them is weight loss and you will bring your listeners there gradually. Thus, another rule of thumb to avoid boring presentations and to make your audience interested is to have not trivial but thought-provoking images in your slides.
5. Practice a lot
When you are not prepared, your audience can clearly see that – your talk is not structured, you are not confident and there is no flow of thoughts. With an unprepared speech it is easy to lose the attention of your listeners. They lose their focus, interest and eventually get terribly bored. Moreover, did you know that not allocating enough time to practice your speech will be deemed as disrespectful to your listeners? If your audience notices that, they will stop listening to you or what is even worse, they will leave. Therefore, make sure to practice your speech and stage performance very well in advance.
6. Don’t give a monologue – interact with your audience using a real-time polling platform
Your audience will easily fall into boredom if all you make them do is sit there and listen. You need to think of intelligent ways to engage your listeners. One of the most up-to-date means to keep your audience awake is to conduct live polls. Nowadays, there are many interactive polling platforms that will be helpful to you. One example of such a tool is Swift Polling. With Swift you will be able to engage your audience by conducting polls, having your audience vote and comment on various questions throughout your presentation. Your audience will be able to participate without registering to this service. It literally takes few seconds and they can text (SMS) their vote or comment to a phone number or enter an event code into Swift’s Polling site. This will deliver intense interactivity to your presentation and will help keep your audience interested and engaged.
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