Presentation Ideas: Getting an Audience on Your Side

presentation ideasIf you’re in the market for presentation ideas, you need more than a little inspirational content. Successful presentations take craft and practice as well as pretty pictures on a page or screen. Here are five suggestions to help you take your business or academic presentations to a new level.

1. Tell a Story. People love a good story. Don’t just open with a joke that has little or nothing to do with your presentation. A story that winds through your talk will keep your audience engaged and interested while subtly encouraging your listeners to sympathize with you—and a sympathetic audience is more likely to agree with you before you’re through. Weaving a story into your presentation makes your numbers, statistics, and cold facts come alive with personality.

Eric Byrd’s Pitch for Success: Story in Presentations is designed to teach you an EASY TO LEARN, EASY TO FOLLOW method for creating presentations that will interest your audience, keep you relaxed at the front of the room, and connect with the people in front of you.

2. Have Numbers, Statistics, and Cold Facts. Story alone isn’t enough. In the information age, people want to know how you know what you know. Find studies or statistics from credible sources to create a convincing basis for your presentation. Cite those sources so anyone who watches your talk can go look up the numbers and research findings for themselves.

3. Kawaii is King. Kawaii, Japanese for “cute,” refers to images that make your audience go “awwwww” — think babies, puppies, and kittehs. A 2012 study, The Power of Kawaii, found that those cute images actually narrow audience focus, improve rapport, and increase cognitive skills. In other words, that sweet 2-year-old in a tutu or puppy in the background is breaking down your audience’s walls and building a subconscious level of trust and solidarity. There are ways to do it professionally — pair a picture of a tap dancing toddler with the heading “Getting the same old song and dance routine?” for example.

If you’re new to business presentations, it’s easy to underestimate the amount of time and energy it takes to build those cute slides. New to business? Check out Dr. Jeff Cornwall’s free Udemy program Entrepreneurship—From Idea to Launch for an in-depth understanding of the process involved in building a new independent business. Cornwall is the inaugural recipient of the Jack C. Massey Chair in Entrepreneurship at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.   

4. Engage the Senses. Plan a presentation that engages the senses, and equip the space with items like hard candies, drinks, paper and pens — even stress balls. You’ll send home tangible reminders of your talk and help your audience keep focus. Visual aids draw attention. Flavors of cinnamon or peppermint improve focus and lower frustration. Those who doodle may retain 29 percent more during meetings than those who don’t, and fresh scents like grapefruit, jasmine, and eucalyptus in the meeting room can aid concentration, energy, empathy, and even hand-eye coordination.

Need a little help with preparation, designing a well-delivered presentation, and using visual aids? Try Successful Presentation: The presentation skills training course that helped hundreds of speakers become more effective. Paolo Pelloni is an experienced public speaker and has designed a broad, deep course with over 30 video lectures to help you build your presentation chops. 

5. Freshen Up Your Presentation Style. Don’t go for the same old tired, over-packed PowerPoint. Consider a one idea, ten minute presentation designed to bring one message home to your audience–or split the presentation with frequent five-minute breaks to keep you listeners fresh and interested. These days, the adult attention span hovers around five minutes, so long presentations are likely to lose your audience — no matter how good you are. Keep folks on their feet and move around the room as you talk to break the fourth wall and add momentum. Even ditch the slides altogether for a clean, precise message with the focus on you.

If presentations have become a painful but necessary part of your business world, this course is for you. In PITCH PERFECT – powerful presentation skills for startups, Len Smith covers the basics on topics like projecting ideas with confidence, controlling panic and using nerves, and handling questions with ease. 

Want to learn more about crafting a gripping message for an impactful presentation? Take Craig Gauthier’s course Powerful Presentations: How to Craft Your Message, Engage Your Audience & Leave an Impact on Udemy.com.

Powerful presentations don’t come from innate talent, but from learned skill. The right guidance and instruction can catapult you into positive, confident, powerful presenting. For more presentation ideas, browse at Udemy.com.