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How to stop boring your audience to tears

StarHub Intern

Hey there students, teachers and working adults! Have you ever sat through a monotonous presentation where the presenter was practically rambling on from the huge chunks of text from his slides without a care in this world?

 

Well, I have. And it was disastrous. In fact, I have on many past occasions, made the same mistake and have been the culprit behind such presentations that painfully bore my audience to tears.

 

So in order to save the world from the misery of having to listen to these excruciating presentations, do bear with me for the rest of the article and I will guide you on how to stop boring your audience to tears.

 

If you think I’m about to introduce you to Prezi, that terrible presentation tool that makes people feel irrevocably seasick, you are most definitely wrong.

 

pp_tshirt-1-100349745-orig.jpg

 

Image courtesy http://www.flickr.com/photos/cogdog/2694267505

 

Because, this article isn’t about introducing you to optimal presentation tools, it is more importantly about how to STOP making presentations SUCK even with the best tools available.

 

To start off, there are 5 fundamental key points to take note to stop making your slides so terrible:

 

  1. DO NOT depend on your slides for your speech content.

 

Presentation slides are meant to aid the AUDIENCE to help them understand the points you are trying to make. They were never meant to aid the presenter!! If you need to look at your slides while you’re speaking to the audience, you are doing it wrong. The slides should be the last thing on the to-do list.

Always do your slides last. To start off, jot down on a piece of paper, a rough speech, from start to end. Know your stuff inside out, then use your slides to enhance the way you communicate your ideas to the target audience.

 

 

  1. Prioritize the content to put out to the audience. What will make the most impact?

 

Keep in mind your target audience and the objective of your presentation.

  • What is of MOST interest to your target audience?

E.g. For investors, it is the money that will come out of your start-up.

 

 

  • What do YOU want out of this presentation?

E.g. Are you trying to get the users to use your product, OR are you trying to win your investors over so that they will invest in your product? Focus on just one.

 

  1. Hook the audience by telling a story from start to end

Nail the presentation with a story that resonates with the target audience. Nail the emotions that you are trying to make the audience feel. Carefully strategize the hook: What is one conflict that the character in your story can experience and that the audience can empathise with? What can’t the audience live without? What is one resolution that the audience will enjoy in a way that is most impactful?

Instead of listing systematically the problem in the introduction, kick start the presentation in the perspective of the user or character experiencing the problem.

 

  1. Less is more.

The human brain can only absorb so much at once. In order to retain the attention of your audience, do not attempt to include more than 3 points in one slide. Cut short each point into simple phrases. Do not write one long sentence for each point. The words on the slides should be strategically used to trigger the reader’s understanding.

 

  1. Use visually appealing photographs / graphics that resonate with the meaning of the point you are trying to make.

If you don’t own many picturesque photographs of your own, you can always get them from tons of free stock websites. One of my favorites is https://www.pexels.com/ . You can take a look at the rest listed on https://bootstrapbay.com/blog/free-stock-photos/ . But be sure to credit the source, albeit in a small font. Make sure that the graphics used on your slides are not distorted in shape, but look visually balanced.

 

Also, please do use fonts and colours that are consistent throughout the slides. Try to stick to at most 2 fonts and 3 colours.

 

If you’re still stuck on how to make your kick-ass slides,

Here’s an inspiring set of slide decks to emulate:

 

 

Just remember, be bold, but not boring.

 

Don’t wing your way through by chucking in long chunks of text in your slides.

 

If you’re doing a presentation, you might as well nail it with oomph.

 

Also, if you’re looking for the best PowerPoint alternatives to make your presentations more engaging, be sure to read the Top 3 Unconventional but Kick-Ass Presentation Tools!

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Currently an intern at StarHub. Some of my posts are unofficial and may contain personal opinions which may not represent the positions and opinions of StarHub