The ultimate goal of any presentation is to move your audience to action. You might do this by changing their mind about something, teaching them something new, or giving them information that they need. This goal can only be achieved if they absorb and remember what you tell them. Otherwise, all that work goes to waste!
People remember some presentations better than others. The reason? Some speakers know how to tap into their audience’s minds and figure out what lights them up. Read on to find out the qualities and strategies you can use to make your message stick.
Sequence your information appropriately
The first rule of memory is that what a person hears first and last will be most easily recalled. Everything in the middle is more likely to get lost in the fray. For that reason, positioning the most important information you want your audience to remember at the beginning and end of your presentation will make it more likely for them to remember it.
Don’t do all the thinking for them
No one should be left scratching their heads after they hear you talk. On the other hand, spoon-feeding them could make their brains too mushy. When people have to use the information they’re given soon after learning it, they’ll have a better context for recalling it later. Provide opportunities for your audience to reflect, such as answering questions, summarizing key points, or coming up with their own examples.
Draw connections between related ideas
Human memory consists of a series of connections that the brain makes in rapid succession. Building connections within your presentation that are clear and precise solidifies information and files it away neatly where it can be more readily accessed. The mind processes memory in chunks of information, and the larger and more accessible those chunks, the more likely it is to retrieve it.
Match important points to a memorable image
In a sense, everyone is a visual learner. Memory retention increases from 10% to 65% percent when images are used for presenting information. Not everything needs an associated picture, but if you include one with your most important points, it’s a guaranteed way to make a more lasting impression.
Use relatable stories, analogies, and examples
Things that are relatable or familiar are also more likely to be remembered – and can make an emotional impact as well. Real and powerful stories that tie directly into your primary message can make the difference between your audience enduring your presentation and enjoying it. Drawing up analogies and examples will help make your points more concrete.
Repeat your key message(s)
The phrase “practice makes perfect” reflects the truth that if you do something over and over again, it will eventually turn out right. The same goes for getting your key message across. There’s no shame in repeating it multiple times, but that doesn’t mean you have to sound like a broken record. Each repetition can and should be worded slightly differently. But by the end of the presentation, if they haven’t heard your most important points multiple times, they may not sink in. Hit them over the head with it if you have to.