If you didn’t realize before, we’re in the information age. This means presenting your information, thoughts, concepts, etc is invariably something you’ll be called upon to do. Ever wonder why some presentations seem so engaging while others are so lackluster? It’s because they are missing the fundamental elements of a great presentation:
Though this is the cornerstone of any presentation. Many do not realize that it is more than just sticking key points on a slide. The presentation must engage the senses as much as possible – let the sounds, sights and even smells move the audience to interact with each other and the presenter, while still facilitating the flow and function of the presentation. Elements you may need for this are:
- Tent Cards
Find a theme and use these elements to maintain the theme.
Success is seated in planning, and planning ensures efficiency. You want to make the maximum amount of input in the shortest possible time. Reign in the digressions by limiting the amount of time you spend on these digressions. Implement constraints that also ensure you will stick to your schedule:
- Use agendas/speaking points
- Group dynamics management that limit wandering
- Time yourself before your presentation and try to stick to that format as closely as possible. It also helps to eliminate some of the jitters associated with presenting.
- Sometimes going slower helps you to be more efficient in your information exchange. Don’t forget to take breaks. Most people have a 20 minute window of engagement after which they begin losing focus.
Losing your audience makes the whole point of the presentations moot. Try to keep them hooked into the material you are trying to present. Sometimes aesthetics aren’t enough to ensure engagement. You have to get involved with the people you are presenting to. Here are some of the key elements of that effort:
- Keep track of who is in your class. A class register helps you equitably distribute group think work and personally engage individuals you think are group leaders.
- Write on the board. Sometimes new and fresh ideas coming from group think need to be visually presented in order to stick. Also asking participants to get involved in building the concept being taught through participation makes for better interaction
- Paper is necessary. Your audience may need a non invasive way of communicating ideas, storing concepts, etc… I have found that paper is an indispensable tool for me
- Set up a reward system. Sweets, trinkets, prizes,etc… it’s a great way to sweeten the labour of learning
- Limited group think. Fresh perspectives on the topic needs to be encouraged. Participation is a great way for people to follow the development of best practices from a logical path. It also helps the presenter to find fresh justifications for strategies being used.
- Use real world examples with group think to keep people focused and thinking
- Assess at the end. Closing the loop is necessary when trying to ensure retention as well as understanding ways and means of improving your presentation strategy. Always include participant and presenter evaluations at the end of your presentation.
After adopting these strategies many have found their presentation techniques and results have improved immensely. Let me know if these strategies work for you.