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Your Presentation Is Boring. Let’s Fix That

by Mary Ivanova

Learn how to engage your audience during your presentation, explore our list of techniques to make an engaging presentation and learn how Crello templates in the Presentation format can help you structure your presentation well.

I’ll be honest, most people I’ve met and saw make presentations sucked at it. You know the story – most audience members struggle to stay focused on the topic, the speaker either completely lacks charisma and visible interest in the subject matter or provides the information in a confusing, overwhelming, monotone or unstructured way.

Most of us found ourselves trapped in a room with a boring speaker more times than we’d like. But worse than that is being that speaker.

And since true friends don’t let friends make a fool of themselves, we are here to help.

Techniques for engaging presentation

Start with a specific journey

Believe it or not, I did not know what 5G was until yesterday. I saw multiple mentions and headlines but it was never clear what this abstract thing could mean in my life.

It wasn’t until late night host Trevor Noah painted a vivid picture: 5G could enable doctors to perform surgeries from the other side of the world.

Starting your presentation with one person’s experience triggers human sympathy and your audience gets invested in the story faster. Individual struggle, ups and downs are way more interesting than any abstract concept you may throw at your audience.

Support with data

Now that your audience is on the hook, you can harness their investment in the story. You don’t have to justify your cause as hard anymore. Feed your audience’s natural interest in the information that pertains to the story they just got invested into – and it’ll go down as smooth as a chocolate cookie with a glass of warm milk.

Don’t believe me?

Would you care if I told you 5G was important because its response time is 1 millisecond? Your mind would be reluctant to register that information because of how useless it seems.

But now that you know that 5G could enable doctors to perform surgeries remotely, you’ll have a much easier time to digest the 1 millisecond response time because this extremely short response time (much faster than human reaction time) makes such surgeries possible – with 5G people and objects will be able to interact remotely in a near-real time.

Sprinkle with humor

Attention span for healthy adults is between 10 and 20 minutes. That’s why all TV scripts are broken up in acts and TED has a strict 18-minute rule.

But that’s only valid for times when someone is actually already motivated to listen to what you have to say. Most of us aren’t Oprah or Obama, which means we have to validate our request for the rime of the audience – not just by offering up useful information in a well-structured manner, but also by wrapping it in pretty form.

Even if your goal isn’t edutainment, weaving some humor into your presentation still makes it easier your audience stay focused on what you have to say. After all, we might all be adults with theoretical attention span of 10 or 20 minutes, but how sure can you be in your presenting skills when your competition is ruminating on a falling out with a friend, unpaid student loans or what to get for lunch?

Tie all ends in a neat picture

So you’ve engaged your audience with a good story. You got them invested in the data you have to back it up. People laughed at your jokes.

And now that you are out of key points, dozens of pairs of eyes are looking at you, as if saying, We trusted you with our time and attention, now tell us we weren’t wrong.

How do you deliver an epic ending?

The best way to do that is through planning. If you did it right, every bit of information you’ve presented ties neatly into a big picture that is the piece of knowledge that offers a quality change in the way your audience sees the world.

Take 5G. We know it has ultra fast response time, we know it enables near real-time interaction, we know it reliably enables people to control machines and equipment remotely. One youtuber tied the ends of this story together with this perfect example: cars will now be able to communicate between each other automatically, estimate the distance they are at from each other, and avoid accidents more efficiently than human drivers can.

Not only does this use everything we’ve learned so far, it gives us the full picture, incorporates each piece of information into a single unit, and justifies the time we spent learning about the subject.

Remove junk

Coco Chanel reportedly said, Before finishing working on your presentation, look through the slides and take one thing off.

Okay, okay, that’s not what she said, but you get the idea – there are always bits and pieces of content that clutter up your presentation. Make sure you go through your final work and remove anything that’s not contributing to its value.

How to structure your presentation

Now let’s turn to a practical part of this piece.

I’ll start by asking you to go to the Presentations format and choose a template for this exercise. Click away, I’ll wait.

A slide from this Presentation template

Now, I’ll teach you how to use ready-made templates to structure your presentation.

How to structure your presentation

Think of it this way – instead of trying to find a place for everything you want to say in the template you chose, you need to restructure your content to fit the template.

That might not be what you normally do with templates for other formats, but effective presentation requires concise, structured and well-illustrated content. Templates will force you to make yours that way.

1. Add your title on the first slide:

This and following images based on this 5-page Presentation template

The template won’t accommodate a long headline. That’s your first pointer – you need to just say the one thing you really want to say with your presentation, and that’s it.

2. Divide into logical parts.

Next, you’ll see a variation of a list or multi-column slide. Here’s a HubSpot study that shows two-column forms have 22% higher conversion rate compared to one-column ones.

Breaking up your text into columns is great because it just looks shorter.

And turning it into a list will make it even easier both for you and the audience to keep in mind the key logical points of your presentation.

3. Use illustrations generously.

Another important thing a template will force you to do is show, not tell:

Each Presentation template in Crello is overflowing with illustrations.

That’s because text is an abstract concept that requires much more effort to digest, while images and illustrations instantly convey the message of, well, a thousand words.

4. Make an impact with the last slide.

And finally, be your last page the names of the presenters, further reading, contact information, a summary or a quote, with templates you are sure to remember to tie everything you’ve been talking about in a pretty, neat bow.

Further reading

We wrote about presentation design before, so make sure to check out our post on five design solutions to fix up a presentation in one hour.

And if you want more inspiration to deliver a great presentation or talk, check out these takeaways on what makes an excellent presentation from last year’s Social Media Week event in Kyiv.

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