Emma Bannister (pictured below) is the founder and CEO of Presentation Studio, APAC’s largest presentation communication agency, and author of the book Visual Thinking: How to transform the way you think, communicate and influence with presentations. In her latest post for B&T, Bannister shares her tips on how to make your next presentation tech savvy without boring the pants off everybody…
There is a rule we’re all breaking when it comes to presenting. We might not be aware of it or care to admit it. Whether it be a product launch, a new acquisition or a pitch, it is not something reserved for the technically minded. No matter who you are, if you have ever been asked to present to an audience, there’s a good chance that you’re guilty.
In this world of growing technology, breaking this rule is real and it’s dangerous. It’s – ‘drowning your audience in data’.
The problem with jargon in presentations, is that it alienates you from your audience. While some presenters believe they are wowing their audience with their growing vocabulary and impressive-sounding acronyms, the truth is that you can almost guarantee no one will remember your content. Others feel comfortable in hiding behind their jargon, seeing their presentation as a necessary evil, a box to tick. Yet, all this does, is waste a perfect opportunity to connect with an audience personally.
The good news is firstly that you’re not alone and secondly, there is light at the end of the tech-tunnel. Here are some tips on how to throw your audience a life-line when it comes to presentations:
Buy-in not boredom
Neuroscience proves people buy and buy-in based on emotion, not logic, so use stories and visuals that help your audience feel something – whether it’s excited, inspired or even angry. Compelling stories and images engage, connect and facilitate action! Speak to them in their language, not your new-found buzz words. Whilst its important to stay true to your tone of voice, audiences will quickly switch off if you’re not talking at them not to them.
Key messages vs multiple messages
What gets left out of your presentation is more important than what goes in. Contrary to belief, sharing all the facts and stats you can is not the best way to be transparent and open. This will have everyone running for the door, and fast. Cut out anything unrelated to your key message.
Clarity over complex
Our important and urgent messages are often hidden in badly designed slides, complex
paragraphs of information, and screens of bullet points that have no clear purpose
or call to action. Get to the point and be creative – it’s the best way to ensure your message and next steps are remembered.
Share insights not darken the mood
Be clear on how whatever numbers you are showing are relevant to your audience. For any other information that doesn’t support the main message, supply a follow-up document. Maximise the opportunity you have to build rapport and connection and you will inspire them to make further enquiry. Time with your audience is precious so make it count!
Engage and educate
If you are presenting an innovative idea, then you must present an innovative presentation – definitely not one dug up from the archives! As well as relevancy, ensure your topic relates to the current state and potential pain points of your audience. Consider inviting questions from the audience which will further encourage audience engagement before taking back control and ending with an enticing CTA.
A poor presentation has content that is overloaded with facts, stats, numbers, corporate jargon and dense text. It leaves the audience feeling confused, turned off and disengaged. They will leave the room with no idea of what to do next – except never attend one of your presentations again.
A powerful presentation, on the other hand, has content that is clear, easy to understand and uses simple language and images. It connects and engages your audience through a balance of emotion and analytics. Your audience will leave the presentation feeling something – be it inspired or informed (or both!), but most importantly will know what action you wish for them to take.
Don’t drown them in data, motivate them and take them on the journey with you. Capitalise on your greatest tool to influence and persuade, and your presentation will be the breath of fresh air in a world of growing technology and jargon.