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Everything You Need to Know About Engaging Presentations (Part 2)

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In part one of this series, we covered several powerful strategies for creating more effective and engaging presentations. We heard from leaders in a wide variety of industries about what it takes to make a great presentation. 

 

More Tips for Engaging Presentations

Today, we’re back with even more tips and strategies you don’t want to miss! Let’s get going. 

Tip #1

“Make a plan for interaction. Include some interactivity in your presentation to keep your audience engaged. Humans have a five-minute average concentrated attention span, so sporadic attempts at interaction aren’t going to cut it. Plan some type of engagement every four to five minutes to get your audience to interact before they hit the attention-free fall. A question, a poll, or a white-boarding session are all examples of this. Whatever you pick, make sure you plan and prepare ahead of time so that interaction doesn’t get lost in the shuffle of your other responsibilities.” – Gerrid Smith, CMO, Joy Organics, https://joyorganics.com/ 

Tip #2

“Cultivate excitement in yourself first and foremost. Be enthusiastic about what you’re going to present. Excitement and enthusiasm for the subject matter go a long way, both towards making yourself more comfortable and enthralling your audience. Find a way to get excited about what you’re about to say, even if you’re just putting it on. The most effective presenters are those who are passionate about their material, whether it’s sales or biochemistry.

 

Make your presentations dynamic. A good presentation ebbs and flows. People are interested in watching and listening to something that takes them on an emotional journey. Use a little humour, but not too much. Make dramatic statements, but use them sparingly. Build your way up to each one. I like to make a script for my presentations that I lay out much the same way a movie writer would lay out theirs. I include details about what I want my audience to feel or how I want them to react while I’m delivering my lines and try to stick to that.” – Gergo Vari, CEO, Lensa, https://lensa.com/

Tip #3

“Have you ever thought that watching a movie on that tiny airline screen would be too difficult to follow, so you decide to not watch anything? The same can be said for an online presentation. Because you don’t know what size screen (or what kind of connection) your audience is using to watch your presentation, build your slides to operate well on a smaller screen. Graphics that are already crowded look even more confusing on small screens. The animations may be choppy or out of time with the audio track. You can avoid alienating any audience members by keeping your images simple and sharp and limiting your animations to simple fades and transitions.” – Bradley Bonnen, Founder & CEO of iFlooded Restoration, https://ifloodedrestoration.com/ 

Tip #4

“You won’t be able to turn around and read the slides if you don’t use bullets and only have one important point on each slide, as many people do during a regular presentation. If you must use notes, make sure you are familiar enough with the presentation to avoid being hooked to them. Listening to anyone read their way through a presentation is not only dull, but it also creates the idea that you aren’t as knowledgeable as you should be on the subject. Instead of using your notes as a narrative for your presentation, use them as prompts.” – Darshan Somashekar, Founder & CEO, Solitaired, https://solitaired.com/ 

Tip #5

“A good presentation requires authenticity, honesty, and engagement. Visual aids like slides can help, as can music, movement, and, of course, your content! In today’s world, one of the most effective speaking tools is storytelling. Your audience will be much more likely to listen and engage with a story than a lecture. Paint the picture that your content shows, using simple visual aids like pictures or simple graphs, rather than busy or distracting infographics, and never, ever, just read your material.

Most importantly, practice, practice, practice – in front of as many people as possible – practice giving your talk so that you get comfortable with both the subject matter and the technology. Record yourself and watch the playback so that you can identify and be mindful of any distracting habits you might have (such as overuse of fillers or specific words, shuffling feet, swaying, etc).

Whether in person or virtual, you can engage your audience through eye contact, body language, and tone of voice as well as through your content. Memorizing your talk isn’t essential, but at the very least, you should be comfortable enough with your content that you can look up from your notes to make eye contact with your audience.

When presenting in person, I use far fewer slides than I do virtually. When presenting remotely, audiences need more visual interest to stay engaged – and, perhaps counterintuitively, virtual audiences need more breaks, whether just check ins and Q&A time or actual break time, than in-person audiences.

There are lots of people who will tell you there’s a correct way to stand, gesture, and speak when giving an important talk or presentation. In my opinion, it’s far more important to be secure in your content and ability, and to be sincere and genuine – if you project honesty and authenticity, you will automatically engage with your audience more.” – Jessica Ellis-Wilson, Founder and Principal, Practical Management and Leadership Consulting www.pmalconsulting.com 

How Swift Helps Create Engaging Presentations

Of course, we’ve also got all of the tools and resources you need to help you create your own engaging presentations. Choose from live polling, Q&As, word clouds, and other audience engagement software to ensure your next presentation is your best yet. Click here to learn more.

 

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