5 steps to making unforgettable presentations with greater engagement
Discover a new way of learning and absorbing information: think immersive instead of linear.
What makes a great presentation? Perhaps there are some memorable presentations that really stand out as the best you’ve been to – what made them special? Whatever it was, you can be 99% sure that it didn’t rely on paying attention to a boring, static slide deck. Perhaps they didn’t use a slide deck at all.
Great presentations use personal involvement and interactivity. These elements get the audience engaged and interested. These sound similar, but are two distinct things: personal involvement means making a direct connection to the audience, so they feel it’s directly relevant for them; and interactivity means using audience decisions, actions, and feedback to guide the direction of an event.
Interactive presentations like these immerse people in the moment, and keep them invested the whole way through. Which makes presentations unforgettable, by turning them into an experience.
Turn your presentation into an experience
Experiential learning is backed by science. While some people are very good at absorbing dry facts and statistics, everyone learns better by ‘doing’ and reflecting on real-life experience. It forms a stronger memory – and it’s easier to do than you might think.
In this blog, we’ll look at how you can turn your presentations into an engaging experience, infused with storytelling and opportunities for interaction.
Step away from the slide deck – how to design your presentation
Let’s face it: people use slide decks because they’re convenient. They act as a repository for key information, and this helps support speakers who are less confident in front of an audience. But, the problem is, they do the exact opposite. Nervous speakers are more likely to fill up a slide deck with too many facts, and rely on reading out from the deck as they go. This isn’t engaging at all, and the audience is torn between listening and trying to read data-packed slides
Speakers should take a lesson from the ancient Greeks, who perfected the art of oratory thousands of years ago, which was known as ‘rhetoric’. A key part of rhetoric was using ‘rhetorical questions’- these are put to the audience by the speaker to engage them and make them feel involved.
The rhetorical question is effective because it is a form of interaction, although very well-contained. The audience isn’t expected to respond, but the question forms a direct connection between the speaker and the inner thoughts of the audience. This is the most basic form of interaction. Although it’s passive, it’s also very effective – so just imagine what you can do with even more interactivity.
Interaction can be hard to orchestrate, but it’s essential to keep an audience engaged. For this reason, you should design your presentation by forgetting about the slide deck altogether, and focusing on how you can interact with your audience.
Step 1 - Design your main story (or stories)
There’s nothing like a good story to engage with an audience. First, think about what matters to the audience. In many cases, you’re there to help them solve a problem. Start by listing key topics, and then identify how your expertise solves issues or adds value to the audience. Use storytelling to your advantage, with real (or fictitious) examples of people like them, who have the same challenges. People want to know they’re not alone, that others have found solutions to their problems – then they’ll want to know what those solutions are for. This should be the core of your presentation.
Step 2 - People first
Revise your stories to ensure they’re talking about people. Your stories should always talk about people and scenarios first, instead of jumping straight to technical aspects of the solution (or whichever subject you’re presenting on). Think about the human side, describing frustration or worry, for example, instead of focusing on KPIs or abstract goals.
Step 3 - Go non-linear
Slide decks are intrinsically static because they can only go in one direction: mercilessly forwards. It would be a mistake to imagine your audiences are all the same, and you can use one slide deck for all. You just can’t anticipate which topics will be most interesting, and you can’t afford to waste time on something irrelevant.
The solution is to create a web of topics by drawing out a spider-diagram of all the key topics and enabling links between them. Now you can return to your slide deck and build-out each topic with supporting media and digital stories.
Using your spider diagram, you can identify non-linear ‘jumping off’ points where you can create a hyperlink to connected topics. This enables you to create an interactive presentation - one where the audience can steer it towards the most interesting destination for them. You can link directly to specific slides in your deck, or use a professional storytelling solution like Hyro storytelling software.
Step 4 - Give the audience control
Let your audience decide the direction your presentation takes. This can be challenging because you don’t want to lose control entirely. However, using the options you have created (above) you can create opportunities to change direction towards specific topics. Slide decks are not the best tool for presentations, and lack the flexibility to include rich media. Non-linear storytelling is much harder as you must create the links manually. Digital storytelling software can help you create powerful presentations, and this opens up the possibility to create a Customer Experience Center or Briefing Center too. These are the perfect venues for interactive presentations as they’re more immersive and participants can directly interact with your stories.
Step 5 - Create a relatable introduction and conclusion
The introduction and conclusion should be the last thing you do. You’re the star of the show, so make sure the audience knows the 3 W’s: Who you are, What you’re talking about, and Why you’re the person to do it. Don’t spend long doing this, and then move on to the real introduction: a story describing why it’s an important topic. Know your audience and use a relatable story they can identify with.
Finally, write a conclusion that wraps it all up neatly, giving room to talk about issues that specifically arose in this session.
The future of interactive presentations: Customer Experience Centers and Briefing Centers
Slide decks are limiting. Even the people who provide slide deck applications tell people to minimize their use to keep audiences engaged. Looking to the future, it’s clear that technologies will work to encourage and facilitate more interactivity. There are already cutting-edge solutions in this area, and they’re actively used in Briefing Centers and Customer Experience Centers.
These experience centers have the unique quality of creating immersive environments. Customers and colleagues can explore and interact with topics and information directly. Modern Briefing Centers extensively use digital storytelling to convert abstract benefits into tangible experiences, while immersing audiences in the brand. These immersive brand experiences combine storytelling tools like digital signage and immersive experience rooms to deploy personalized and interactive presentations.
Use digital storytelling software to create customer centric presentations
Digital storytelling software is an indispensable part of a Briefing Center or Customer Experience Center. Storytelling software coordinates all the physical hardware, and helps a presenter to offer a truly interactive and personalized experience.
Interactivity requires the ability to serve a response (such as specific data or media) for a specific interaction. This means your digital storytelling software must support non-linear storytelling.
With the ability to easily jump from one topic to another, your digital storytelling software helps support better interaction. It also enables the presenter to serve entirely customized experiences for each audience. With a customer-centric presentation for each specific customer, you can be sure to engage your audiences with relevant content and an interactive experience they’ll remember.
What are the 3 S’s of a presentation? The 3 S’s of a presentation are: Structure, Story, and Self. Your presentation should have a clear structure, a good story (or more than one), and an understanding of self-relevance: who you are, and why the subject matters to the audience.
What are the 3 W’s of a presentation? The 3 W’s of a presentation are: Who, What, and Why. This means you must tell the audience who you are, what the objectives of the presentation are, and why you’re the person making the presentation (i.e., why you’re qualified).
How do you build a good sales deck? To create a top-level sales deck, use stories to make your points more accessible with concrete examples your audience can relate to. Use customer research to create an impactful story packed with proof and make it relevant to each audience with colors that match their brand and media that supports their brand mission as well as your own, showing how these go hand in hand.
What makes a great training presentation? There are 5 things that make a good training presentation: 1. Set goals at the start, 2. Make it memorable, 3. Build confidence, 4. Preparation, and 5. Simplicity.