October 14, 2020– A lot of businesses are conducting Zoom meetings now because of Covid. I’ve attended a few of these virtual presentations and couldn’t help but notice the attendees’ lack of engagement. Some presenters are painful to listen to and seem to drone on and on while offering no valuable information or insight to their listeners. Others use outdated practices such as PowerPoint presentations that are badly done and statistics that bore the audience to sleep.
During some of the sessions I’ve attended, I’ve seen people play with their pets, text, work on their computers, and do anything else except listen to the speaker. Why is this? Simple. People don’t pay attention when the information is irrelevant, uninteresting, and uninspiring.
So if we know what makes a bad presentation, what makes a good one?
- Storytelling. This is so important! People remember stories, so each of your presentations should start with a story to captivate your audience. Think of TedTalks and people who professionally speak for a living; most of their presentations start with a repeatable, memorable story.
- Relevant content. If you’re reading your newest picturebook over Zoom to a group of school children, would you include a plug for your adult thriller? No. You would stick to things that are relevant to them and the things that they care about. There’s no quicker way to lose your audiences’ attention than to start talking about stuff they aren’t interested in.
- Know your audience. Who are you speaking to? Your presentation should vary based on your audience and what you know about them. For example, if it’s a club/organization/non-profit you’re presenting to, what is their mission? E.g. service before self, giving back to the community, volunteerism etc.
- Marketing. We no longer live in a world where people come door to door to convince us to buy vacuum cleaners based solely on their powers of persuasion. It’s now about YOU marketing, not ME marketing. It’s how we serve our customers and readers best and how we present our products in a way that matters to them. Stop saying I, I, I, I, I, in your presentations because it’s not about you; it’s about them. Stop making your presentation about yourself.
- Qualifications. Yes, sometimes it’s good to inform your audience of your qualifications to show yourself as an expert in your field, but most of the time, no one cares. Keep it short and sweet and if people want to know what school you went to or the degrees you have, direct them to your website or wherever you keep that information. Never start your presentation with your qualifications, you’ll lose people’s interest almost immediately.
- Participation. If sessions are too long, you risk boring your audience. To keep them engaged, get them to actively participate by asking questions, answering questions, and being part of your presentation.
Implement these pointers into your next presentation and you’ll captivate your audience!