Igniting Workplace Enthusiasm

Designing Our Presentation Part Two


Questions are very powerful. These should be asked rhetorically, in a way that the audience is not actually sure if it is a rhetorical question or something they actually have to answer. This creates a certain amount of tension that drives audience attention to what the speaker is saying.

They are curious to find out what you meant.
Quoting some relevant expert on the subject is also good because it references the topic and gives the speaker additional authority to their message.
Statistics are powerful because they are hard evidence and tell the audience this is going to be a fact based presentation and not just opinion.
Something shocking is a good way to grab attention, so make a provocative statement and then explain what you mean.
We can always flag our conclusion at the start and then spend the rest of the time justifying our interpretation.
This is a standard ploy and for that reason we should use it sparingly. Audiences are already distracted and anything that smacks of predictability, sees them drifting away from us and straying into extraneous, unrelated thoughts, completely off-topic.
The title of out talk is usually selected before we get down to the nitty gritty of the speech design. We may have been requested to speak on a certain subject, so our ability to use our title to intrigue, may be contained. It is not such a problem though because most people will have forgotten the exact title of our talk. Unless there is a slide with the title listed, they will have trouble recalling it word for word.
The opening, therefore is the opportunity to break through all the audience noise - all their screaming monkeys running around inside their brains. This should be designed with great precision and delivered the same way. Don't digress, or comment on something that has happened in the lead up, get straight into the planned opening and grab the audience’s attention.
Before the start of the event get there early and mix with some of the participants. Get them talking about the topic. This is a good way to connect with the audience by referencing what a couple of them said in the moments before the speech started. The person referenced feels very special for the recognition and the imaginary boundary between the speaker and the audience disappears, as the speaker becomes one with the group.
Only at this point should we start playing around with the slides to support the presentation. Once you have designed it this way, the need for a lot of text on the screen disappears. We know what we need to say and so we can start introducing pictures and diagrams as well as text. Even the text can be just one word, because we are able to talk to the key points covered by that word. This is very powerful, because it keeps your eyes one the audience and off your text. It also forces them to look at you, because there is no competition for audience attention, from what is up on the screen.
When we are designing the talk there will be key words that lend a lot of weight to our argument and these may be key words we want to emphasise on the screen. We can do this through a photo or a video or some image.
Everyone is used to seeing lots of text on the screen and when you present in a different way you remain memorable. The audience will not remember the details of your speech, but they will remember their impression of the speaker.
Japan may be the land of zen, but there is very little zen influence going on when it comes to slides. Baroque with its ornate detail is more the flavor here with many competing colors and a screens packed with information. These are spread across an astonishing number of different fonts and font sizes.
Japan has a love for detail, but we don't have to put it all up on the screen. Japan also has a love of the written word and what is written down, carries a lot more weight that in Western countries. The point here is that Japan is still some way behind the rest of the world in this aspect of clear communication.


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