Comedian Jerry Seinfeld rightly summed up the anxiety most of us feel while presenting when he quipped, “In other words, at a funeral, an average person would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy.”
It is true that public speaking and presentations are not for everyone. But when the job demands it you can’t sit back and blame your anxiety on your genes. Whether you’re a student or a corporate executive, the following three tips are all you will ever need to give a brilliant presentation.
1. Tell a compelling story
Humans have very bad attention spans which have been further deteriorated by incessant smartphone usage. We will only watch or hear things that appeal to us or we’ll move on. On average, the human attention span is approximately 8 seconds. And that is all you get. Use an interesting opening line to grab the attention of the audience.
But the presentation isn’t over yet. You need your audience to listen until the very end. So, how do you do that? If you’ve ever seen good TED Talks you’ll know how beautifully those speakers curate their talks by building a story. According to professional speaker Akash Karia, stories are fascinating to us because they allow our imagination to wander and form a visual in our minds. Whether you’re giving a business presentation or defending your Final Year Project, it is all about compelling storytelling.
If you want your audience to listen to you, then your presentation should be an intricately connected story where one thing is seamlessly linked to another.
2. Use impressive visuals
A user once posted a question on Reddit that said: “What is your favorite movie and why do you like it so much?” While the users who replied did not agree on their favorite movie, they did, however, agree that what makes a movie great is its story -the first point – and supporting elements like music and cinematography. So the interesting thing to note here is that supporting elements also play a great role in keeping audiences hooked.
Use this strategy while giving a presentation. Keep your slides minimalistic and rely more on high-impact visuals rather than boring text. This will also reduce your dependency on slides and allow you to come up with your own lines.
3. Be more interactive
We’ve all had that teacher who used to drone on and on while the entire class slept. Try not to be like that teacher. According to a study, 91% people have admitted to daydreaming during business presentations. In order to not let that happen, keep your audience involved. As I mentioned earlier, open with an interactive question, throw in some facts and figures, and continue asking questions or opinions. Moreover, don’t restrict yourself to one corner. If you can, and if the nature of the presentation allows it, move about and mingle with the audience. This way people are bound to remember you and the killer presentation you gave them.
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