[This guest post was written by Jonathan Lewis]
Even the best business idea or project needs a unique and memorable presentation to grab the attention and sympathy of your target audience. In the past companies relied on experienced speakers for this purpose but today people often deliver their own presentations. Although it can seem easy to assemble a few slides, making a great impression is not so easy.
In most cases first-time presentations to the public can be quite disappointing. However, with some basic advice a dour presentation can be turned into a gem by understanding some basic psychological facts – for example, how body language affects the understanding of the information presented and how it helps to raise the overall level of positive energy.
Here are some tips that can help you deliver a presentation that will captivate everyone’s attention.
1. People learn best during the first 20 minutes
Recent research shows that 20 minutes is the optimal duration of a presentation. People enjoy and remember the information presented much longer if they participate in a presentation that is short and sweet.
2. Remember that visual and auditory senses compete
It is hard for people to listen to what you say while they are reading text on the slides. Too much text on a slide is hard to read. Ensure that your slides are visually easy to understand by adding pictures or diagrams to help illustrate your point.
3. Take care of the slides’ appearance
Stick to the rule “The fewer, the better”. Use keywords or short phrases that you can complete during your speech and make the slides simple – put the title on top and then the essential information right after it.
Avoid using strange fonts that are difficult to read, as this will distract your audience. The characters should be large enough to be read easily. Use minimal punctuation and use capital letters only when necessary.
The text should always be contrasted with the background. However, avoid using white background – the best colours for the purpose are creamy ones. Dark colours are appropriate only when you want to make the colours of a logo stand out.
4. Make a great first impression
Remember that unconscious decisions are made and processed in less than a second. Before you start your presentation and possibly even before you say your first few words, your audience has already assessed you. So, try making a great first impression, which is important in order to make people more focused on what you have to say.
If you smile, your audience will smile back, if you are energetic and calm, your audience will also be willing to be energetic and relaxed. One of the most important emotions that can be conveyed to your audience is passion. Feelings and emotions are “contagious” and if you show that you are excited towards the presentation, there will be a crowd of excited people waiting to hear what you have to say.
5. Create a comfortable atmosphere if you want to keep your audience engaged
Your body language, facial expressions and comments are the platform that allows your audience to feel good. Humour is also a great way of making the others relax. Be friendly and don’t forget that all of these people have come here in order to hear what you have to say.
If you want to make people listen to your words, stimulate them by asking or answering some poignant questions.
6. Use some diagrams, pictures, video and sound in order to grab the attention
Try to convey your message to the audience visually. If you are presenting some data add some diagrams and pictures that correspond with your main message.
Jonathan Lewis is the head of the marketing team of Clean To Perfection and talks in front of many strangers on a daily basis. He likes to share his experience with his reader’s and relishes in offering tips on careers and marketing.