A question we are frequently asked is how do I make my presentations stand out? How can I put the WOW into my presentations? Here are 5 techniques you can use to make your presentations shine.
1. Have a great opening to catch the audience’s attention. Look at using props, an interesting story, or an unusual quote. See where you can add something different or unusual that will make the audience sit up and pay attention. Humour can be an added bonus to relax and ease the audience into your presentation, especially if the main body of the presentation is factual or technical.
I heard a great presentation a while back that used props effectively as an opening. The presentation was about the downturn of the economy and the presenter opened by bursting a balloon. It grabbed the audience’s attention and was a great visual to add impact to the presenter’s words.
2. Use your voice to add light and shade to the presentation. There is nothing worse than listening to a presenter who drones. Practice using your voice effectively. Increase your rate to add excitement and anticipation. Increase the pitch and volume to grab the audience’s attention – “hey listen to me I have something great to tell you”. Lower the pitch and volume if you want to share emotion or entice the audience. Look at your presentation and see where you can use your voice to add impact. Tape yourself and listen to your voice. Have a colleague listen to your presentation and advise what sort of voice you have. Adjust your voice depending on whether you drone or are too fast or too slow. The voice is a powerful tool to add the WOW to your presentation.
3. Add movement during your presentation. Body language and utilising your stage or presentation area are a vital component of your presentation package. Appropriate movement and body language will add a visual impact to your spoken word. Movement catches an audience’s attention. Using gestures and facial expression will add an extra dimension to the presentation and reinforces the spoken message. Look through your presentation and see where some appropriate gestures can be added. If possible see where you are speaking – what is the stage or presentation area like – can you add movement to engage the audience.
Yes – you can listen to a presentation given with great vocal variety and say that was great presentation. However, adding some appropriate body language and movement will turn it into a WOW presentation. It is all about the complete package.
4. Words are a powerful tool. When writing your presentation, think about the words you are using. Look where you can place triplets and alliteration to reinforce your message. Read and listen to some past great speakers like Winston Churchill, John F Kennedy, and Martin Luther King. All of whom have some wonderful examples of alliteration, triplets, similes and metaphors throughout their speeches. Think about the message you want to get across and use words to deliver that message with impact. Remember, just because you can use wonderful words doesn’t mean you need to use them all – sometimes simple is best.
5. Interact with the audience. If you can include interaction with the audience do so. Anything that involves the audience will ensure that your presentation stands out in the participant’s minds. Interaction will ensure that they remember you the presenter and if you make it a teaching point it will also ensure that the audience will remember your message. Audiences like to be involved – it turns a hum drum presentation into a dynamic presentation. It is important that the interaction is appropriate and suitable. Just getting the audience up and moving will not necessarily add impact –you need to make sure that the interaction is connected to your message to make it meaningful interaction. An exercise that highlights your message at the beginning or during the presentation is effective. Getting the audience up and shaking the hands in the air may help to keep them awake but will probably not assist in having a WOW presentation. The scope and amount of interaction will depend on the audience size and on your presentation. Smaller audiences lend themselves to more interaction whilst with larger audiences the interaction may be restricted to questions and answers. Whether it is small or large some interaction will definitely add to the WOW factor.
These are just 5 techniques to adding impact to your presentations. As you become more effective speakers and presenters I am sure you will find many more techniques that you can use to add the WOW factor. Don’t be afraid to try something outside the box – if it is something really different run it by colleagues or a test audience first.
Trish at Trischel