Every now and then we all have seen movies with no plot or have read stories that don’t really stick around in our mind. Or you might often snooze through (and suffer) a presentation that went on and on cluttered with bullet points – bullet points that may be meaningful to the presenter but fails to keep the audience hooked.
Our brain processes information that is in bullet points in an area called “Broca’s, that translate those bullet points into a structured story. However that story our mind comes up with might not always coincide with the information intended to be conveyed by the presenter.
While you perfectly remember a summer day picnic at a hilly place with your family or friends or a movie that you saw many years ago. So how there are certain memories stuck in your mind but you are unable to recall others. The answer is that the human brain manages all information in a form of structure, that’s how our brain makes sense of the world around us.
The purpose of the presentation is to communicate some information or to persuade the audience to act upon a certain agenda. A good presentation must be well structured, with a subject relevant to the audience, and is delivered according to the understanding level of the audience. A well structured and effectively delivered presentation can create buy-in, generate leads, and even make you progress in your career.
Regardless of the career level, everyone gets an opportunity to present some ideas to the respective audience. The art of effective presentation is to engage the audience and keep them hooked in your presentation. To hook the audience you need more than a powerpoint, it requires you to communicate with them. A good speaker can’t pull off a successful presentation without a well structured presentation deck. Likewise a good presentation can’t cover for a bad presenter.
You can improve any skill with hard work and practice. There are some points that make you successful in your next presentation.
Know Your Audience
Whether you are pitching a sales to a client, or presenting in a boardroom or for an academic purpose, before starting to prepare a presentation research your audience. The key is to mold your message according to the traits and understanding level of your audience. You might use an industry specific terms or jargon your client is unfamiliar with or you might keep your presentation to basic for a quite sophisticated audience.
In any medium of communication, the most important element is organization and structure. No matter how well researched and well equipped you are with all the needed information,you are going to be foiled by lack of structure and organization. Structure your presentation with an introduction of what you are going to present. Followed with the main idea and finish off with repeating the points and call upon action.
Instead of loading the PowerPoint with countless bullet points, come up with creative ways to engage the audience. Use narratives and appropriate visuals to convey your idea.
To be the elephant in the room requires confidence and controlling one’s nerves even if you are faking it. Whether you are presenting to a client or giving an interview if you lack confidence and commanding presence it affects your success.
Prepare and rehearse your presentation not to memorize it but to control the anxiety. Practice out loud as it helps to identify structural flaws and to eliminate them efficiently.