Change is in the air. Companies, the ways we think about leadership, and the needs of employees are taking new shape. As a result, the way we collaborate and communicate is evolving rapidly. Virtual presentations are becoming more common, yet, our attention spans are shrinking. When presentations are in person, you have a captive audience. With a virtual presentation, the audience has more opportunity to disengage. If you want folks to pay attention rather than stray (i.e. watch a cat video), read on.
Below, Chris Vandermarel, InVision’s Senior Director of Demand Generation, shares insights to help make your next presentation more interactive and engaging with the help of InVision Freehand, the online whiteboard, but just as important, make a captivating presentation that people actually remember (regardless of subject matter). Watch Chris’s full video here.
Don’t read from a script
”You want your audience to engage with your presentation (eat it up) rather than fall asleep,” Chris says. A quick way to lose your audience is turning your back to them and reading from the slides, prototype, or Freehand you’re presenting.
Chris shares a couple of pro tips to help you avoid this mistake:
- Keep it conversational: pretend you are just talking with someone about the topic you are presenting. If you have trouble with this, you may need to learn more about your topic. As soon as you become a subject matter expert, keeping your presentation conversational will be easier.
- Don’t read off your slides: To avoid this, write 2-3 short bullet points about each slide just to remind you what each slide is about. You can also take a quick look at the bullet point to ensure you don’t move on to the next slide until each bullet point is covered.
Keep slides low on words
“Nothing is worse than a slide that is a wall of words,” Chris says. He shares two pro tips to help you make your slides less wordy.
- Ask yourself: Is there an image that can better convey the information than the text?
- Consider: using an illustration, a pun, or a play on words instead of a wall of words.
If you weigh your presentation down with words, you are asking the audience to force themselves to focus on a presentation they will most likely forget. Since 65% of people are visual learners according to the Social Science Research Network, if you include engaging and stimulating visual content, you will give your audience something to remember. Not to mention, if you add some humor in and improve the mood of the audience, they will be more likely to recall what was said.
Have empathy for your audience
It’s essential to know your audience. Chris said that he asks the following questions to make sure he tailors the message to the audience:
- What do they care about?
- What will they find interesting?
- What will they find entertaining?
When you take this approach, it’s not only collaborative and inspiring, but you’re more likely to garner support rather than presenting a narrative such as “you screwed this up, and now I’m going to fix it.”
Chris makes his presentations even more engaging by creating an agenda to share with the audience. Why is this effective?
Chris provides several reasons:
- Sets clear expectations about what’s coming next
- Gives folks something to look forward to so they stay until the end
- Allows presenters to sandwich “less fun stuff” between “more fun stuff”
Chris uses InVision Freehand to make presentations more collaborative and interactive. You and your team or audience can draw, add notes, include any media, and embed documents on the same canvas. You can even set a timer to remind yourself when to move on and avoid going down rabbit holes or losing your place. Bonus, with the click of a button, Freehand syncs the audience’s screen with yours, so they seamlessly follow your presentation.
Stephanie Darling is the Editorial Content Manager at InVision. She has a background working with arts and culture organizations, and she loves all things food, dogs, and podcasts.