You’ve probably been there: presentations during which the presenter is tightly holding onto his/her static slides which are very hard to focus on and last for hours. Not exactly the impact you want to have as a successful presenter, right? But how can you create a presentation that doesn’t only keep the audience interested, but also sticks with them afterwards?
A static PowerPoint presentation with an overload of information on slide after slide is clearly not how we do things these days. You want to convey a clear message to your audience and, in order to do that, you need to be able to distinguish yourself from others, to prevent the audience from losing their focus. The key to success? Conversational presenting!
Conversational presenting means presenting the right information to your audience in an interactive way. Ergo, no more static PowerPoint slides, but, instead, using other interactive that you can use to convey your message in a creative way. Like the phrase ‘conversational’ indicates, we no longer speak of a format in which you do all the talking and your audience does all the listening: the audience will play a more prominent part in the presentation and you engage with each other during the presentation.
It might sound fun, conversation presenting, but why would you choose this method instead of the traditional way of presenting? Well, research has shown that 72% of the participants find the so-called ‘two-way’ presentations much more memorable than the traditional way of presenting. Conversational presenting doesn’t only help you distinguish yourself from your competition – which is a huge advantage in itself, of course – but it also makes sure that the content of the presentation will stick with the audience much better afterwards. And, of course, that is your ultimate goal! Also, it can save you quite some time, because conversational presenting gives you the opportunity to focus on the most important arguments you want to share. Ergo, no more endless and boring presentations!
We can imagine that it is quite a shift to give up your safe PowerPoint presentations and embrace a new format. That’s why we have lined up a couple of tips for you to give you a head start and take the first few steps towards your interactive presentations.
It might seem a given fact, but, unfortunately, that’s not always the case. With conversational presenting, you focus on the audience. Therefore, start your presentation by asking a question. By posing an open question – ‘What is it that you would like to start with? – you give the audience the opportunity to choose and stimulate them to think. In this way, you can have them decide which way the presentation will go. Of course, you will take the lead, but you can have them choose which parts of the presentation they would like to discuss first. Also, this format creates more opportunity for answering questions and having discussions, which allows you to make a positive impression on the audience.
In order to give an interactive presentation, you need an interactive design. Instead of using static slides, use an interactive space – that you can also use on tablet and smartphones – to ensure greater involvement from the audience during the presentation, allowing them to choose which parts of the storyline they want information on. Have you ever used Prezi or Canva for creating your presentations? These tools give you the opportunity to create several different paths within the presentation, which makes it possible not to stick to a linear storyline. Every little bit of information will be its own entity, which makes it easier to let the audience decide. You can create the same effect with some clever tweaks in PowerPoint, but, of course, this is a great excuse to try a different, innovative tool. An interactive design also makes it possible to switch between different parts of the presentation, in contrast to the static order of a PowerPoint presentation. It works best when you take a ‘visual’ as a starting point (e.g. a circle graph) and arrange this in such a way that the audience can opt where to start on the storyline.
If you are working with a design that allows you to make quick shifts, you will have to be able to do so yourself. A presentation with room for variation requires you to know the contents of the presentation from front to back. This will allow you to switch between the different blocks of information that you want to convey to your audience at any time. Of course you don’t have to know every word by heart – after all, you want the presentation to be spontaneous, too – as long as you make sure that you are confident and not scared by quick shifts and answering questions. Confidence is key!
Because your audience has a big part in this way of presenting, it is important to know the people your addressing. By creating an interactive environment, you can get to know your audience even better. Interaction works in both ways: by listening and catering to the audience’s needs, you can have them engaged much longer while you convey your message. Therefore, really take their reactions into account when presenting and asking questions, because these can tell you a lot! It works best to adapt your presentation to who is sitting in the room with you. Not everybody needs the same amount of information to reach the same conclusion. Therefore, let your audience guide you!
We hope that these 4 tips will provide you with the opportunity to take the first steps towards this new way of presenting, in which it’s no longer you, the presenter, that’s the center of attention, but your audience. Do you need some help with your interactive design or your conversational presenting skills? Don’t hesitate to contact us!
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