Leave Them Laughing: 4 Things To Remember in your Presentations
just over 3 minutes to read
You have probably sat through many a boring presentation, ones packed with pie charts, way too much text and cheap clip art. Add in a bad presenter and you have the perfect recipe to put any insomniac to sleep with boredom.
Audiences all over the world want one thing from a presentation, to be entertained. If the best content rich presentation has no humour, then it will always lose out to the maybe empty but funny presentation, where you probably didn’t learn a dot, but you had a good time. Its just human nature.
So if it’s your turn to present to the team, at a seminar or conference, what are the main ingredients to keeping your audience not only awake, but engaged, inspired and ready for more?
Minimalize your slides.
Take a look at this video of Steve Jobs presenting. There is very little information on his slides, the words are all in his head, delivered to you from his heart. Instead, the few words and numbers on there are simply for you the audience to look at and maybe a prompt for him, but nothing else.
Avoid too much information
Too much information with several different line colours adds confusion to the audience. Do you need to show your increase or decrease via a line or will a bold image suffice?
Plan your funny bits
We are not all born comedians, but every presentation should have some humour in it somewhere, so plan where and how that humour is going to be delivered. Try using a handful of funny images or very short video clips rather than risk a joke falling flat. I plan to get my my first laugh within the first 1 minute of my presentation, then they are scattered at regular intervals throughout, and then bang, right on the very last slide, leave them laughing. This last slide is so important, the slide your audience will remember you by.
Tell us to laugh
If you don’t give your audience permission to laugh, they probably won’t, so make sure that you grin broadly or laugh with them to encourage laughter at the right places. That’s why we have canned laughter on sit coms, to tell us the viewer when to laugh!
Listening to a very serious presentation some time ago, there was a funny bit, but it also have a very serious side to it too. As the presenter didn’t smile or laugh at that time, those of us that did laugh, felt stupid and maybe even callous because we hadn’t been given permission for our outburst. Had the presenter laughed, we probably would have all laughed, so give your audience permission at the right places.
Your Columbo finish
Lieutenant Columbo always said at the very end of asking his suspect questions, “Just one more thing”. Steve Jobs also always included a “just one more thing” slide.
As you wrap up your presentation, have a “Just one more thing” slide and tell the audience, “and finally…”This will ensure that they know you are drawing to a close, you are all but finished. I like to tell a very short story at this point to demonstrate a real life experience about what I have been presenting, it really knits everything together.
Lastly, you must practice, practice and practice again.
On the day of your presentation, run through your notes, but focus on practicing your first 2 slides, and your final slide, your close. Those are the two important areas to win or lose your audience.
So there it is, four things to think about to create your great presentation, add a smile and enjoy. Good luck!
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