Wouldn’t you like to know what your audience is thinking before you get up in the front of the room to train them? What gets them excited and receptive to your message? What will prompt them to act on your learning concepts?
Here are five ways to make your presentations more interesting and engaging:
1. People learn best in 20 minute chunks:
In a study of learning and knowledge retention by Maureen Murphy, various groups of adults were studied for their reaction to a 60 minute presentation and a 20 minute presentation. Murphy found the people who watched the 20 minute presentation immediately learned more information and retained more a month later. This is why so many leadership training video courses are less than 20 minutes long.
Even if you have a longer presentation, Dr. Susan Weinschenk, a behavioral psychologist with 30 years of experience and author of the book, 100 Things Every Presenter Needs to Know About People says, you should design activities or breaks every 20 minutes.
2. People Won’t Listen to You if They Have to Read Your Slides: Seth Goden, who is a best-selling author and a very savvy marketer has a rule: no more than 6 words on a slide. Use graphics to reinforce your point. Many people use the words on their PowerPoint presentations as their notes. You can still have those notes. Just don’t show your audience.
3. Record a Video of Yourself Presenting: This is a great way to watch how you’re coming across. You may think you’re nervous but you’ll be surprised at how calm you look. Also, you’ll see what body language to correct so you appear more confidant.
4. The human brain craves the unexpected: Build welcome surprises into your trainings. Use videos or exercises. People love stories and if they can watch a short video of a great leader who reinforces what you’re teaching about leadership, communication or change, all the better. Videos engage and people will remember more. (Dept of the Navy study).
5. People imitate what they see: If you are energetic, passionate and caring about your presentation, your audience will be too.
6. Here’s a bonus: Have a call to action. Be specific about what you want the audience to do. If you want them to take a quiz or to practice a learning concept with their team, ask them to do it. Don’t expect them to do it without asking.