Photo by Teemu Paananen on Unsplash
An effective presentation will help you to speak directly to audiences who are actually interested in your field of study, gather ideas to push your projects forward, and make meaningful personal connections.
However, the problem here is that giving an engaging presentation is no small feat.
You might already memorize your script and get a solid grip on the topic you deliver, but the audience could still be bored and uninterested. That sea of blank faces indicates that your audiences are struggling to digest and retain your points.
Now, the question is, how do you make your presentation more engaging and thought-provoking?
Here are some best practices you can use to engage your audience so that you can get your message across seamlessly, slide by slide.
#1. Create Well-Structured Content
The main goal of your presentation is to deliver content seamlessly. So, it’s safe to say that a great presentation comes from great content. You need to make sure that the content you deliver is easy to follow and well-structured.
Giving presentations means that you’re telling a story. So, give it a beginning, middle, and end. It’s always much better to start your content with an introduction, ensuring that everyone in the audience knows who you are and why you are giving them a presentation in the first place.
After the introduction, you can go to the main points you want to get across and close the presentation with takeaways summarizing the whole points.
#2. Add Visuals
Providing your audience with only text-based content can make them yawn if not bored to death. Reading bulky text on your slides might be such a chore for them. They want straightforward content that is easy on their eyes.
This is why you need to add some visuals to your slides, such as:
- Explainer videos
They help you to illustrate and explain your points better. This, in turn, will lead to higher audience engagement and retention.
#3. Use Conversational Tone
Never, ever, give your presentation with a robotic tone where you don’t really emphasize certain sentences or words. It shows your audience that you give the presentation just for the sake of doing it.
Memorizing the script might help you to keep your explanation on track and smooth. But, you have to remember that you need to use a conversational tone while giving your presentation as you talk to your audiences.
Also, if you are preparing your script from the text in a research paper, you must change the style of the written phrases into ‘spoken’ phrases. It makes your explanation more casual, helping your audience understand the content better.
#4. Make Eye Contact
To make you look more professional and authoritative, you need to make eye contact with your audience.
By keeping eye contact steady, you can concentrate on your message and slow down your explanations. This, in turn, will help you establish a connection with the audience and conveys sincerity and confidence.
Ideally, you need to look your audience in the eye for three to five seconds. It makes them included and being talked to. When someone feels like you’re talking directly to them, they are more likely to listen to you. And when they listen to you, more likely they decide to buy into your message.
#5. Create Eye-Catching Slide Design
Catchy slide design will grab your audiences’ attention right off the bat. It makes it easier for them to pay more attention to your content. You can use pre-made templates that you can customize based on your own liking.
One thing you need to bear in mind here, though; the stunning and splashy design doesn’t mean that you have to put all the elements together, add all the available props, or use all the transition effects. It will put your audience off, as it will look like you tried too hard just to get their attention.
The key here is to create a positive impression for the audience so that they can follow your points all the way through seamlessly. Try to use sparingly and make sure you choose consistent fonts to make your slides more professional.
#6. Practice. Practice, Practice
“Practices make perfect.” As cliche as it sounds, practicing your presentation ahead of time makes you feel more prepared and reduces any anxiety or nervousness.
So, make sure you have time to prepare thoroughly and structure your talk appropriately.
The best way to practice is to do it in front of the mirror. By doing so, you know what expressions you’re making while you give your speech.
You can also record your voice to understand the intonation and tone you’re using as well as the time you need to give the whole presentation. Thus, it helps understand what you need to fix and improve.
Giving a presentation is not about simply explaining topics to your audience. It’s pretty much about making sure that they understand and retain the messages you’re trying to convey. That’s why you need some effort to create engaging presentations for a better retention rate and audience engagement.
With those six essential tips mentioned above, now you’re ready to take your presentations to the next level and engage your audience flawlessly.
Andre Oentoro is the founder of Breadnbeyond, an award-winning explainer video company. He helps businesses increase conversion rates, close more sales, and get positive ROI from explainer videos (in that order).