If you’ve ever had any children over to visit you, you are familiar with the two most dreaded words in the English language….
Kids have amazingly short attention spans and a lot of them haven’t been educated to entertain themselves. The same is true for a lot of people in your audiences. So they’re texting, or daydreaming, while you go bullet point, by bullet point, until the most welcom end of the Power Point presentation.
There is another way.
Think Shakespeare: your presentation should be an entertaining play for your overworked audience.
In their article in the November issue of Fast Company, Dan Heath and Chip Heath, authors of Made to Stick, write:
The best presenters don’t structure their presentations by thinking, What’s the next point I should make? Instead, they decide, What’s the next question I want them to wrestle with? (88).
Ponder these as you work on that upcoming vitally-important presentation”
1) How can I build suspense into your presentation?
2) How can I surprise my audience, in a good way?
One easy way to surprise and delight your audience is to spare them a text-laden Power Point. Remember you can always incorporate the technical and/or price details into a take-home hand-out or e-mail attachment.
If your company produces something tangible, maybe you can use the real deal, and avoid slides all together.
One memorable student presentation used small appliances (hairdryer, clock radio, phone charger) as the student explained how much electricity each appliance used, both when in use, and when turned off. I heard this presentation over a year ago, and it still stands out in my mind.
In another memorable presentation, the student served everyone in the class a small dish of freshly-made pasta. And her last name is really Carbonara.
If you want to stress the benefit of money savings, maybe hand out Monopoly money.
The key is to think about your presentation from a fresh perspective: you’re bringing live theatre to a stressed-out audience. Do yourself and them a favor by delivering an outstanding performance. You might even enjoy the preparation and the delivery.
Next stop, Broadway.