3 Quick Ways to Improve Your Presentation

I am always amazed by how many times I see presenters and professional speakers bore their audience. It really takes a tiny bit of effort to change your presentation from boring to great. Here are three simple ways you can improve yours without spending hours in PowerPoint. Here are three ways to improve your presentation. 

 

1. Delete 50% of Your Slides

In the past we all have used slides as a crutch. Well, maybe it's time to rethink how many slides you need. The audience can only absorb so much in the time you have together. Are you expecting too much from them? Are you wanting to share everything you know? Stop. Right now, open your presentation and delete fifty percent of your slides. Remove all those slides that you put in to make the section longer or equal in length. You know those slides that you have to read or the slides for that case study that you spend 5 minutes explaining. The point here is you need to get lean and mean. Only deliver your best content, not all of your vast knowledge. Think of it this way. Every audience member has a bucket, when it's full, that's it. They can't absorb, retain, or keep anything more. Their bucket is full. 

 

2.  Practice More and Perform Less. 

There is a big shift in our world, we want real and authentic presenters, trainers and consultants. So when you tell that story, forget all those 1990 rules of stage presence. You know the ones that mandate where you stand to tell something from the past and where to stand to describe the future. Just be you. We want you, not your actor-self. The more you become natural the more we like and trust you. I once saw a well-known speaker actually conjure up tears when he told a story during his presentation. Did we believe him, of course not. And he lost credibility. Trust me, it wasn't a story that deserved tears. How do you fix the fake? Practice more in-front of some friends. You know the ones that will tell you that you are full of it. Yup, those friends. They know you pretty well and they can tell you to knock it off. The more we believe that you are being you, the more we will learn during your presentation. 

 

3. Include More Activities. 

Get your audience moving and talking. We can all stand and deliver a talk for 50 minutes, but studies show your audience won't retain more than 30% of the information. When you invite the audience to join in the journey. 

I recently spent 4 hours in a training session. I had high hopes for this session and was excited to see what I could learn from this "master trainer." The day started out with an amazing roll playing exercise. All the participants had parts to play in a scenario including lines in a printed script and even baseball caps with embroidered titles on them. What a great start. After the play, we debriefed and had lively discussions as a group. Everyone was engaged. Unfortunately, the next 3 hours we just listened and filled out blanks on our handouts. No discussion, nothing new or exciting, just a monotone presenter and slides filled with bullet-points. Disappointing. 

So, rethink how you can get your audience moving and talking. The more they interact, the more you help them retain information. Think science lab, not college lecture hall. 

 

The Challenge

What will you do right now to change your presentation? Which one of the three ideas will you implement right now? Go ahead, pick one and do it.

1. Delete 50% of your slides.
2. Practice More and Perform Less.
3. Include More Activities. 

Paul Vorreiter is a presentation expert and professional speaker. He speaks frequently at business conferences on simple ways to create captivating presentations. For more ways to engage with Paul click here.