Let’s find out…
It’s easy to diagnose a boring presentation. The audience does it for you.
Diagnosing your presentation’s boring-ness
Is the audience sitting forward, engaged?
Do the audience react when you say something that’s emotional?
When you ask a question (straight or rhetorical) does the movement in the audience feel like people sitting forward?
Your presentation is probably not boring.
On the other hand…
Is the audience checking their watches or smartphones? Looking at the clock on the wall?
Does the audience not react when you expect them to?
When you ask a question (straight or rhetorical) does the movement in the audience feel like people lifting their heads? Facial expressions like they have just been given a test they don’t understand?
Do people avoid eye contact with you? Are they yawning?
Your presentation is almost certainly boring.
If it’s boring, what can you do? Try to incorporate some strategies from the 5 areas of “interest…”
The 5 Areas of “Interest”
Are you focused on the audience or are you focused on just getting to the end of your presentation?
To deliver a presentation that’s not boring you need to treat the audience the same way you’d treat someone you are trying to build a relationship with: put them first.
Instead of focusing on the points you need to tell the audience, focus on how the audience can benefit from what you have to say.
Instead to focusing on getting to the end of your talk, focus on connecting with your audience.
If you sound like a robot reciting your script your audience won’t be listening to you.
Talk naturally, conversationally, to the audience and they are more likely to pay attention.
In natural conversation we tell stories, we pause, we vary pace, we emphasize some points and don’t emphasize others. To engage an audience we should do the same when we deliver a presentation.
The key to delivering conversationally is to understand your content well. Well enough that you have no need to memorize a script word-for-word.
Like vocal communication, visual communication should be natural.
Practiced gestures look un-natural and are distracting.
Like vocal communication, the key to natural gestures is to understand your content well. When you understand your content well and speak from what you know, rather than a rote-memorized script, your gestures happen naturally.
The first step to good slide design is to know how you will deliver your speech. Plan out and practice your speech before you begin designing your slides. In this way, your slides are best positioned to support what you are saying.
Keep text minimal on your slides.
Use your slides as away of reminding the audience, pictorially, about what you are saying.
A good rule of thumb is to have each slide highlight a key point in your presentation.
Is the flow of your presentation easy to understand?
Or, is your content all over the place?
Make sure that your content is organized so that your audience doesn’t have to struggle to understand. If you are asking them to do something, have a concrete request and actions for them to take.
What do you think? Let’s chat in the comments below.