Typically one of the best responses someone can give after a presentation is, I loved it. Some other comments might be meaningful as well, however it is hard to surpass those three little words that seem to signify an authentic connection with your presentation.
Building a genuine connection with audience members is often one of the most difficult parts of public speaking – thus the significance of the I loved it compliment.
For most public speakers, it is easier to deliver a presentation that is interesting or informative than it is to create a presentation that people enjoy immensely, or love.
To build meaningful connections with audience members and create presentations that people will love, try the three presentation tips below:
1. Be Warm.
Although projecting competence is clearly important, neglecting to demonstrate trustworthiness/warmth – a psychological conduit for influence – makes it very difficult for leaders to gain loyalty and to be persuasive in a sustainable way.
To increase the warmth you convey during your presentations, aim for a tone that suggests that you’re levelling with people—that you’re sharing the straight scoop, with no pretense or emotional adornment, according to the Harvard Business Review article, Connect, Then Lead.
If you want to complement your warmth with competence, raise your testosterone and lower your cortisol before your presentation. According to research by Pranjal Mehta, of the University of Oregon, and Robert Josephs, of the University of Texas, the most effective leaders, regardless of gender, have a unique physiological profile, with relatively high testosterone and relatively low cortisol.
Research concludes that by momentarily practicing power poses, which are simply open, expansive postures, you can effectively increase your testosterone and decrease your cortisol levels, and therefore project more competence and strength.
2. Share experiences.
You can also increase your perceived warmth by telling an appropriate but personal story in the same conversational tone your would use with a close friend. If your story demonstrates similarities between you and audience members, your story will also potentially increase your likability as well as your warmth. According to Dr. Robert Cialdini, author of the classic book on persuasion, Influence, being likable improves your ability to connect with an audience.
In addition to making you more likable, stories can also help you transform your presentation into a meaningful experience that you and your audience share, bonding you together even more.
As strange as it may sound, the brain literally cannot tell the difference between imagining reality, and actually experiencing reality, says Bnonn Tennant in his article How To Use These 3 Hypnotic “Power Words” To Covertly Increase Your Conversion Rates.
Therefore, if you actively engage the imagination of your audience, you can transcend the typical PowerPoint experience by taking audience members on a journey that they can actually feel.
3. Be creative.
If you’ve invested the energy to project warmth and likability, as well as tell stories to endear you to your audience, don’t lose the connection you’ve established by delivering slides that cause audience members to glaze over.
In order to deliver a presentation that people will love, you need to create slides that enhance your message. To produce slides that elevate your communication style instead of dragging it down to the dreaded Death by PowerPoint status, you should avoid these two presentation no-no’s: bullet points and traditional charts and graphs.
According to The Use of Visualization in the Communication of Business Strategies, a study designed to gather empirical evidence regarding whether the use of visualisation is superior to text in the communication of business strategies:
Subjects who were exposed to a graphic representation of the strategy paid significantly more attention to, agreed more with, and better recalled the strategy than did subjects who saw a (textually identical) bulleted list version.
The bottom line: bullet points decrease the connection between the audience and your message.
In addition, avoid using traditional bar charts and pie graphs. According to What Makes a Visualization Memorable?, a 2013 report that details the findings of the largest visualisation study to date, creative data visualisations are more memorable than traditional charts and graphs.
To ensure that you don’t lose your connection with your audience due to your data, get creative with your data visualisations.
Conclusion: Aim to create presentations that transcend the typical interesting or informative presentation.To successfully deliver presentations that people will love, try the tips and tricks included above.