When it comes to attending a presentation, people will either remember it or they won’t. Which one happens depends a lot on the presenter. The human brain is designed to respond to certain stimuli. Try as they might, even if the person wants to remember what was said, they might not be able to recall it without the right triggers.
Your job as a presenter is to hone into those synapses of the brain that will trigger their memory as well as give them an overall good experience. Your audience doesn’t expect the unexpected – they expect a typical presentation. Switching it up even just a little will stimulate their minds enough to form a memory of your presentation that sticks with them in the long-term. Here are five ways you can make that kind of impression.
Engage Your Audience
Audience participation should be a given. However, typical ways of engaging them, like simply posing a question and seeing who responds, aren’t truly interactive. The best way to engage them is to get them more involved in the presentation. Call on a volunteer assistant to help you present something in order to make a point. Have someone share a story that relates to the topic at hand. Organize a game that lets them experience something for themselves. For motivation, give out prizes (that they actually want) to those who participate.
Make Them Laugh
The faces looking back at you from your audience will be ones of concentration, professionalism, and possibly (but hopefully not) boredom. They’re serious faces. That is, until you show them it’s OK to loosen up. Throw in some humor to lighten the mood and light up the happiness center of their brains. It doesn’t have to be a full-fledged joke, but throwing in a side quip or a silly anecdote will put them in a more relaxed state and enhance their ability to remember you. Even if all they remember is the funny parts, they’ll make a positive association with your presentation.
Add a Soundtrack
Music is a powerful thing. It can change someone’s mood in an instant, remind us of people and places we know, and help us get things done. Consider adding some music into your presentation – whether it’s a subtle classical playlist humming gently in the background, energetic beats to get the energy flowing, or clips of pop songs associated with your content. Music is something that is rarely added to a presentation, because it has the potential to be distracting. Your choice of songs should serve a purpose and not take away from the presentation itself. This tactic definitely strays far from the “overdone” category, though, so if you want to stand out, this is the way to do it.
Use Powerful Imagery
The number one thing you want people to pay attention to is what comes out of your mouth. Including too much text on your slides can detract from your message. Images, on the other hand, can make powerful statements about the points you want to make, and give your audience a visual point of reference. Choose strong images that people will associate with a certain idea or topic, and that will linger in their memory. Use minimal text on slides with your most eye-catching images, and use these moments as an opportunity to drive your message home.
End Your Talk Early
Most speakers fill nearly their entire slot of time with content. Attendees see that the presentation lasts an hour, so they’ll expect to just be sitting and listening for an hour. Surprise them by ending early and leaving the last quarter, or even the last half, of your time slot for questions, discussion, and reviewing supporting materials (YouTube videos, infographics, and even movie clips could come into play here). Make it about more than just the presentation – make it about your audience’s overall experience.