When Microsoft released Office 1.0 in 1990, containing Word, Excel and a new-fangled presentation program, I doubt their ambitions for the product included the coining of the phrase ‘death by PowerPoint’. There are numerous symptoms of this painful affliction and many millions of audience members have endured tortuous experiences, but one characteristic all such tedious presentations share is the uninspiring delivery of a monotonous speaker. It is our belief that the most effective and interactive presentations are a dialogue not a monologue, and here’s why.
- Audience participation
The audience is unable to be passive and disengaged if the speaker directly involves them in what he or she is talking about. Creating interactive presentations can be as simple as asking your audience questions. This could be a show of hands on a topic or simply asking them to choose what topic they want to see next. Perhaps include a quiz element aimed at challenging conventional wisdom or breaking down misconceptions. All this can be done interactively on the screen if you have the right presentation software.
- Delving deeper
Some software enables you to up the ante on interactive presentations by personalising the content using profiling tools. For instance, if the presenter wants to illustrate a point by asking an audience member for specific information relating to their personal views or circumstances, they can input this live and the audience sees the information transformed into charts. This method of delving deeper into a subject makes it far more memorable as it is personalised and specific, really creating a wow factor.
- Animation is animating
Video and moving images are proven to be more engaging that static ones (witness the rise in popularity of online video content), so by using moving charts and graphs, video or animations, you will increase the engagement levels of your audience. Why not stop the animation before the end and ask your audience to predict what is about to happen? By using animated images as a conversation starter you will draw your audience in and your points will be more memorable.
- More interesting for the speaker
It’s a truth rarely admitted, but many speakers are bored by their own presentations. If you’re a sales person, trainer or marketing manager you may have clicked through the same slide deck dozens or even hundreds of times. If you’re bored with it, what hope is there for your audience? Using interactive presentations keeps the speaker interested as every time they deliver it the content changes, and with more movement of the mouse to click on the various interactive elements, there’s plenty to do physically as well think about as intellectually.
- Turns audiences into collaborators
The traditional speaker/audience dynamic is a fairly distant one. Not only are you probably separated physically by a table or podium, but possibly also by position, with the speaker often looking down on the audience. This is not a good starting point for relationship building and persuasion, yet that is precisely what you’re trying to do. Interactive presentations put the speaker and the audience on a more equal footing, conducting a dialogue and having a discussion rather than a one-way conversation. At the end of the presentation the speaker will know the audience much better and the audience will have a vested interest in the presentation, leaving scope to develop a more meaningful relationship after the speech is over.