Many business presentations are terribly dull, which is a pity– they do not have to be. Here are three ideas to develop intriguing presentations which will keep your audience captivated:
- Start with a dramatic reversal – Perhaps your presentation will be to showcase findings that you have discovered. If the results are contrary to what your audience expects, you might start your presentation in the manner your audience initially expects. However, at some point, you can tell the audience that the expected results are not what was observed, which should make them more curious and interested in what you have to say. At that point, you can present the actual observed results, and discuss your conclusions as to why these are different from what you (and the audience) initially had expected. This can be useful for making otherwise boring topics lively, but you probably should not use this technique for topics which are already somewhat controversial to begin with.
- Give the audience a say in the presentation’s direction – This does take a bit more effort and pre-planning, but if you let your audience determine the next topic in the presentation, they are much more likely to stay interested in the entire presentation. You can do this during the planning stages of your presentation, so that you are likely to have a topic which you know the audience will enjoy, or you can prepare several different topics. If you prepare multiple topics, you can let the audience decide which one they are interested on the day of the presentation, and save the other topics for another day. You should also prepare a snapshot of each presentation, so if your presentation runs short, you can give the audience a sneak preview of your presentation on the other topic(s), and why they might be interested in attending.
- Have a celebrity (within the field you are presenting on) make a guest appearance – If you have the budget for it, a surprise guest celebrity appearance can liven an otherwise dull presentation. You might save this guest celebrity for a time when you know your presentation would otherwise drag, such as after lunch (when many audience members are more receptive to entertainment than dense information-filled presentations). Just be certain to give any guest speaker advance notice of what your presentation is about, as well as what role you are looking to them to fill, so that they can prepare accordingly. Of course, you should have several dry runs with your guest presenter, so that you can work out any problems before the actual presentation, and so that there are no surprises, or misunderstandings.
Accordingly, when you start with a dramatic reversal, allow the audience to set the direction, and have surprise celebrity appearances, your presentations will be much more interesting, entertaining, and memorable than they may have been in the past.
Copyright 2010, by Marc Mays