Corporate Training & e-Learning Blog

Monday

How to Spice Up a Presentation

By Heather Johnson (Guest blogger)

A friend had this to say of my brother – he’s the only guy I know who can sleep through his own team’s corporate presentation. Now I don’t know if this statement could be construed as derogatory to my brother or to the person who prepared and presented the presentation. Whatever the connotation, presentations are not the most entertaining films to view, especially on sonorous afternoons in air conditioned and darkened rooms that lull you to sleep. But the one you make can be the exception to the rule that presentations are boring; here are a few tips to spice up your presentation so that your audience is left asking for more:

  • Preparation holds the key to a good presentation. Know your subject and know your audience. Make your presentation fit to their level of reasoning and understanding, make it seem like you’re showing them what they want to see, not what you want them to see.
  • Interaction is the best way to get your audience involved. Ask and invite questions.
  • Talk with enough confidence so you appear in control of and knowledgeable about the facts but don’t overdo it or you’ll come across as talking down to your listeners.
  • The first blow is always the best and the hardest to recover from. The element of surprise lies in making a strong opening and getting your audience to sit straight with renewed interest.
  • Be prepared to answer questions mid-slide and carry on from where you left off without breaking stride.
  • It’s difficult, but being prepared to change tactics midway is an advantage when you sense your audience is not as attentive as you would like them to be.
  • Short and sweet is the catchphrase for effective presentations – the shorter and more powerful the message, the more reach it has.
  • Talk eloquently without the use of too many “ahs” and “ums” and “likes”.
  • Use your hands to complement your words and slides – body language speaks a thousand words and wooden postures never helped liven a presentation.
  • Balance your glance between your slides and audience as required.
  • Dress appropriately.
  • Modulate your voice according to the size and echo range of the room.
  • Don’t throw in a joke just to get a few laughs; use humor that is relevant to the topic at hand.
  • Know your slides thoroughly and never get them mixed up in the middle of a presentation.
  • Try and make normal facts sound innovative and interesting by showing them from a different perspective.
  • If you’re a beginner, there’s no shame in practicing in front of a mirror or recording yourself to provide your own feedback so you can improve and improvise as needed.

By-line:

This article is contributed by Heather Johnson, who regularly writes on the topic of college scholarship applications. She invites your questions and writing job opportunities at her personal email address: heatherjohnson2323 at gmail dot com.

8 Comments:

  • Hi Heather/Jenna, that was an interesting read. Many times we tend to forget that as presenters, we might be wide awake, bubbling with energy, but our audience too needs their dose of energy; a lack of which causes 'death by powerpoint'!
    And that energy comes from things like engaging in a 2 way interaction with your audience and use of friendly humor (thats one of my personal favorites and there's an entire article on my blog on the WHAT-WHY-HOW of humor:-)
    In my sessions I ensure that I throw the metaphorical 'murphy's monkey' right into the audience just at the start of the session, and retain the attention so obtained throughout the session through various activities. Using games, is not be a bad idea either.
    Thank you for the article,
    Dave
    stickytraining.blogspot.com

    By Blogger StickyTraining Team, at 3:42 PM EDT  

  • Great ideas. I only have one to add to the list:
    * Use images, video and audio that illustrate your point and replace "text" on screen with media when possible. Here's an example I stumbled upon recently. Turn Back Time. It uses music to make the facts memorable. You could use the same concept to make your business presentations "sticky" as well.

    By Blogger Kieran, at 8:02 PM EDT  

  • Great list, particularly for presenting in warm weather after lunch. A couple of extra points we've noticed:
    Don't try to use long words to make your presentation seem more intellegent, it has the opposite effect.
    Don't worry about appearing nervous, everyone get some nerves giving a presentation and your audience will want you to do a good job - it's better to sit through a good presentation than a bad one - so there's little to be nervous about.

    By Blogger Claudine McClean, at 11:15 AM EDT  

  • Good read. Keep up the fine work!

    By Anonymous healthcare lean training, at 10:14 AM EDT  

  • Kieran's comment reminds me of another point.
    The presentation should address different types of learners present in the room - visual, auditory and kinesthetic.
    Hence, images, video and sound addresses the visual and the auditory learners; and the use of any kind of physical movement, use of props, excercises etc should address the kinesthetic learners.
    We should ideally look at a healthy mix of all types of activities in one session, to make it stickier.
    Dave - StickyTraining.blogspot.com

    By Blogger StickyTraining, at 3:48 PM EDT  

  • I loved the idea from "Turn Back Time". What a great idea to get people involved. One other thing about poweroint that drives me crzay...people cram too much on a powerpoint or put graphs up that no one can read. I love having a station where I can see if the slide has change, otherwise, I feel like a bobble head looking back at the screen to make sure the slide changed "just in case". Never seem to trust the equipment.

    By Blogger Betty, at 10:24 PM EDT  

  • Interesting read. I follow most of the things to make my presentation lively and interesting. But what if as a presenter am not satisfied with my own presentation? Although am thorough with the content, I get nervous when facing a larger crowd, I've stage fright,can anyboidy suggest how to over this?

    By Blogger Mousumi Ghosh, at 1:24 AM EST  

  • At our workplace we recently screened the film The Opus. This is the film that many people are calling the sequel to The Secret. I found this film to be a very pleasant experience. It was far more practical for me than the Secret was and I really enjoyed it. Shortly after we contacted the films producer, North America's achievement Expert Douglas Vermeeren and we will be bringing him in for a training. I am excited and will keep you posted. Here is a clip I found on Vermeeren:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eT-DpyHwq4c

    And more can be found on The Opus at their website www.TheOpusMovie.com

    By Anonymous Travis, at 7:13 PM EDT  

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