If you want your presentations to be memorable you need to know your subject extremely well, be passionate about it, anticipate possible questions and espouse an attitude of “this is going to be fun!” When you are enjoying yourself it puts the listeners at ease and the feeling becomes contagious. When people are relaxed it creates an atmosphere more conducive to retentive learning.
You have about four minutes to grab and engage the attention of your audience so you need to begin your presentation with something that draws them in…..a short story, a shocking or interesting fact or a challenge. If you do not start well, you will have trouble attracting their attention for the entire presentation.
The ending is also key. Our memory recalls best the first and last things we hear….so a remarkable closing will keep you in mind. Especially if it follows up from an outstanding opener.
Finally, when your style emulates who you are, you come across as authentic. That authenticity helps to validate whatever subject matter you are offering to your audience and reinforces your expertise on the topic. Honesty is always the best policy!
Here are some other characteristics to make you stand out in a crowd:
1. Stories are great connectors.
Human beings remember things to which they can relate and which matter to them. A big slide deck full of charts, slides, and pictures may be important, but they can be hard to retain and overwhelming. Memorable presentations build connections between the speaker and the audience and stories, especially personal ones, are what can make that connection last. So consider lacing your presentation with anecdotes, especially if they are a bit deprecating, as that makes you look more human and believable.
2. Images need to reinforce the content.
We have all seen lots of slides and we likely do not remember most of them. But the few that are remembered usually contained something that clearly and uniquely depicted the concept being described by the speaker. I remember one that was demonstrating the number of websites on the internet and how insignificant it made one seem. The image was like the stars in the universe. It put into perspective how important it is to have great content and SEO if anyone is going to find you and stay long enough to actually consider what you have to offer.
3. Enthusiasm needs to be supported with excellent, relevant content.
We have all heard passionate speakers whose content never took root because it was presented in a way that engaged us or mattered to us. You may even remember what they looked like and the fancy fonts and layouts of their slides, but not what they said. Information really does matter to an audience and no matter how great the style of delivery may be, the content is what will remain….make yours meaningful, factual, and up to date.
Remember……great presentations are, in truth; interesting and engaging conversations. So make sure your facts are not abstract and difficult to grasp, rather, present them in unique, memorable ways so that your audience will feel that the time they spent with you was beneficial and they will take away some useful information that they will remember and apply to their lives in a meaningful manner.