3 Simple Ways to Add Impact to Your Presentations
How many times have you delivered a presentation and known that people were not engaged? Demoralizing, isn’t it? Well, there are numerous elements you could add, delete, or change to make your presentations more compelling. To get you started, here are three techniques that will help your presentations be more impactful, influential, and persuasive.
Delivered directly after the opening, the Benefit Statement is my favorite part of a presentation because it is simple to develop, easy to deliver, and extremely powerful. It consists of three parts – length of the presentation, what the audience is going to learn, and how they will benefit from having this information. Here is an example. “Over the next 20 minutes, you are going to learn how to incorporate more effective SEO into your website so you can be seen in a greater number of search results, get more leads, and ultimately make more sales.”
People often make two mistakes here. One is by saying, “I am going to talk about ….” The other is by highlighting the content but not including the benefit to the audience.
Because speakers know where their presentations are going and how the various segments connect, foster, and support each other, they often forget to include transitions. Consequently, their listeners get confused. And as the sales adage goes, “A confused mind doesn’t buy.” In the case of a presentation, this means your listeners, once confused, will no longer want to listen nor process your information.
Transitions are easy to include in your presentations. They can be simple transitions, e.g., “First … second … third … next, etc. or they can be the more sophisticated and advantageous flashback transitions. Flashback transitions highlight the benefits of what you just said and preview the benefits of what you are about to say. For example: “Now that you understand how effective SEO increases exposure to your top prospects, you’re going to see how it helps you increase sales.”
Questions & Answer Session
I believe the way most people handle Q & A undermines an otherwise strong presentation. This is unfortunate since the intent of a Q & A session is to help listeners clarify a point made in a presentation or get information on a point not covered.
For greater effectiveness, move your Q & A from the end of your presentation to just before you conclude. You want to end your presentation on your terms and with the compelling conclusion that you have developed, and you will have that opportunity when you sandwich the Q & A between your information and conclusion.
How you set up the Q & A plays a significant role in the segment’s success. Instead of saying something like, “I’m going to open it up for questions,” or, “Does anyone have any questions?” set expectations with words like, “Let’s take up to 10 minutes for Q & A. Based on the information you just heard, what questions do you have?” Once the Q & A session is over, briefly summarize your presentation and conclude as you had rehearsed.
There are several additional ways to strengthen Q & A sessions. They include being enthusiastic about each question, repeating questions that the audience may not have heard, and taking time to formulate your answers. You also want to give thought to how you are going to handle people who ask off-topic questions, don’t ask a question but instead want their point to be heard, or hog the mic. And if you are going to answer a particular question by saying, “That’s a great question,” then you should respond that way to all questions. Just vary the words or phrases you use.
By including these easy-to-implement ideas, you will be well on your way to delivering presentations that resonate with your listeners and make a difference in their lives or careers. And isn’t that precisely what you want to do?
(This article originally appeared in the Providence Business Journal, August 21, 2020.)