Data doesn’t have to be boring!
When we run our Presentation Skills training courses one of the things we hear quite often is that these creative techniques are all very well, but there is serious information to be presented and you can’t use a pretty picture instead.
And that is absolutely right.
If you have lots of data or information to get across, particularly in a technical presentation, it can be tempting to plough through it all regardless of whether your audience is engaged or not.
But if your audience is asleep or bored why bother?
So the challenge is to keep them awake, engaged, and informed in that order.
On our two day Presenting for Technical Specialists Programme we cover all the usual techniques for excellent presentations and then, as the name suggests, we throw in some that are just for the Technical Specialists.
Here are three of my personal favourites:
Tell them What’s in It For Them right up front, not at the end. Why should they listen, take notice of, and plough through this difficult information?
If they know the overall pay-off up front they are more likely to sit through the data and try to understand it.
I know the acronym is meant to be ‘Keep It Simple, Stupid’ but I prefer ‘Keep It Short (and) Simple’.
The shorter and simpler your message the more likely your audience is to be able to absorb and remember it. You can always expand on the theme throughout your presentation but the key messages should be memorable and simple.
A good rule of thumb is that your key messages should expressible in 7 words or less.
Give It Meaning.
If your data doesn’t have any meaning for your audience then why are you presenting it?
If you don’t give it meaning, they will try to, because that is what human beings do.
Each piece of data you present should therefore have a meaning attached to it – and tying in to #1 and #2 that meaning should be of interest to the audience and should be simply expressed.
Sometimes using an analogy or metaphor can help to make the meaning clear in a simple way. And that’s a great way to engage both ‘left’ and ‘right’ brain functions, making your presentation both interesting and memorable.
For more top tips for making your Technical Presentations more engaging book a place on our new two day Presenting for Technical Specialists public course.