Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Deliver an effective message?

You have the right message, an interested audience…now it’s time to make sure you present the information in the most effective way possible. Here are a few ‘how to’ points to get you started.

1.  Tell a compelling story – This creates relevance, resonance and responsiveness.

True story… I was sitting in the back row of a presentation not long ago and started noticing how engaged – or unengaged – my fellow audience members were. When the presenter said “I have to tell you a quick story about that…”  almost every person in the room refocused on the presenter. You could physically feel the energy level change in the room! For those few minutes, their attention was on the presentation, not on their iPad, smart phone or list of things to do once they got back to the office. (There are a number of great websites and blogs about what goes in to telling relevant stories. Use ‘The Google’ to research the topic!)

2.  Use of visual aids – Pictures, graphs and charts add impact to your message and move an audience from simply hearing what you have to say to seeing it represented. This increases retention of your message. I read not long ago that 83% of human learning occurs visually, 11% through hearing, 3.5% through smell, 1% through taste and 1.5% through touch.  (That adds up to 100% - I didn’t want you to have to do the math yourself.) 

Three days after an event, people typically retain 10% of what they heard from an oral presentation, 35% from a visual presentation and 65% from a visual and oral presentation.

(See what I did there?)

Keep the visuals simple and easy to understand. Whatever visual image you choose, it should amplify your message and key points. Don’t ask your audiences to read and listen at the same time. A chart or graph with too much information will take their attention away from what you are saying.

3.  Leave a printed document behind - Give participants something to take with them - a simple (but attractively-designed) brochure or handout with your key points emphasized. This helps remind them of the presentation and your key points. 

That's it! Three simple steps to better presentations!

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