How many presentations have you sat through in the past 7 days?
And of those, how many do you wish you could get back that hour?
There are many ways to improve the engagement of your audience, but this one has a huge and immediate impact: Reduce the text on your slides!
As you stand and explain the complexity (or simple brilliance) of your idea to your audience, they are reading your slides. And because we humans can only focus on one thing at a time, if they are reading your slides they are NOT listening to your words.
Do yourself and your audience a favor and keep the text on your slides to a minimum. Even if they do read the slides it won’t take but a few seconds and then they can focus on your words of wisdom.
Why do you want them to focus on you? Because you have prepared and crafted a beautiful story to tell them and if they don’t listen, you won’t be able to have the impact or influence you intend.
If your slides can stand alone and have impact, they are most likely not slides, but rather a document.
The purpose of your slides is to provide key themes and ideas to you as the presenter and to your audience. They are background. The presentation is about YOU and your message.
If your material is so complex that it requires more in depth explanation that can not be presented with minimal text, there are a number of things you can do.
1. Incorporate visuals into your slides to show the story your complex data is telling;
2. Provide a take away document or report that includes the data to support your slides;
3. Not provide a presentation, but rather provide a full length report.
A simple tip, but with powerful impact: Less text is more in presenting and engaging your audience.
With your very next presentation, use a critical eye on the amount of text on every slide. Keep it to a minimum. Are you using slides and really should be using a document? Make a change to less text and observe the impact on your audience.