Quick, name the last presentation that you attended. Now, name two things you learned from that presentation.
Can you do it?
If you can’t recall at least one or two things from that presentation, was it worth your time and investment?
Now try this. Name the last speaker or presentation that you heard that totally wowed you and you walked away with invaluable information and practical steps.
What made that presentation so good that you remember it?
Five Ways To Kill Your Presentation Dead In Its Tracks
Here are five things to avoid and make your presentation memorable.
1. Practice Information Hedonism
Avoid information overload and the data dumps. Less is more! People want value and meaning, not tons of information. Just because you like data and an excess of information does not mean that your audience will. And, they won’t remember all those stats and figures anyway. So why are you giving it to them?
When preparing your presentation, brainstorm your ideas and then mindmap it. Focus on three to five main points and make those the crux of your presentation. All other information should be supporting actors to the three to five points.
2. Expect Instant Microprocessing Of Information
Your audience needs time to process the information you’re sharing and create new meaning from it. They need down time to reflect on what is being said. They need to give up the external attention to everything around them and go internal to process the new information. They also need time for that learning to imprint. That means you need to stop talking. You can either have your participant’s attention or they can be creating meaning from the information. But you can’t have both at the same time. Meaning-making, reflection, association and consolidation can only occur during down time.
For every 20 minutes of new content, provide three to five minutes of down time during your presentation. During down time, attendees can discuss the new information, write down how to apply it or stand and stretch.
3. Keep It Impersonal
Even in the most technical presentations, people enjoy hearing the human side of the story. Provide relevant stories within your presentation that share the emotional elements of excitement, frustration, humor, hope, fear, disappointment, challenges and success. Share the humanness of your content, not a technical presentation about details. Practice humility vs. tooting your own horn too.
4. Multiply The Meat Of Your Presentation
Your presentation needs to chunk important information into 10 minute segments not multiply the meat into long-winded soliloquies. Chunking is the process of dividing information into smaller bite-size fragments so the brain can process it. The brain needs to move information from its working memory to its long term memory. Unfortunately, its working memory has a limited capacity of holding three to seven things at any given time. Moving that information into long term memory requires application, association, meaning making, reflection, and other brain processes. If the working memory is full, the information being shared will be forgotten. Chunk your presentation into bite-size 10 minute segments that are anchored with a personal story.
5. Focus On Gobbledygook, Mumbo-Jumbo And Technical Jargon
Even the most technical presentations need analogies, examples and metaphors to help make complex subjects more accessible. Filling your presentation with gibberish and uncommon drivel will propel your attendees’ minds into another galaxy.
What are some other deadly presenter mistakes that you’ve experienced either as a facilitator or participant? What do you wish presenters did more so that you could learn and retain their information?