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How to Craft an Unforgettable Presentation

How to Craft an Unforgettable Presentation

Have you ever sat through a presentation that made you want to go back home, put your pajamas back on, and crawl back into bed as you had finally found the cure to the insomnia that has plagued you for months? Or, what about the presentation given by a colleague, co-worker, or some other professional in your field that was so dry and lifeless that you almost felt compelled to get up and give it mouth-to-mouth? Got that thought clearly in your head?

Okay, now I want you to think about the presentations you’ve seen where you literally felt like you were on the edge of your seat. You know, the ones that you didn’t want to end because every cell in your body was engaged, making you feel as if you could listen to the person for hours and hours on end.

Now, here’s the big question: What is the difference between the two?

Well, if you’ve been following my Businessing Magazine articles at all, then you may have read my piece titled 7 Steps to Creating an Effective Business Presentation and already know some of what it takes to craft a presentation that captures your audience’s attention. But if you want to take your demonstration one step further and make it absolutely and completely unforgettable, like your first kiss or the moment you opened your business’ doors, just follow these simple tips:

Consider Presentations That You’ve Not Forgotten

One of the easiest ways to craft a presentation worth remembering is to consider the presentations that you’ve seen that have been etched in your mind and use their same method of delivery. In other words, consider what makes them more memorable to you. Think about the things that the presenter did or didn’t do that made it so compelling.

If you’re not really sure, or you can’t quite figure it out, think of the parts of the presentation that you enjoyed the most. Then ask yourself what you enjoyed about them. For instance, was it what was said, the way it was said, or the visual that was used? Once you identify what it was that captured your attention most, work to incorporate that same thing into your presentation so your audience feels the same way you did.

Decide What Journey You Want to Take Your Audience On

Chris Anderson, TED curator and contributor to Harvard Business Review, says, “When I think about compelling presentations, I think about taking an audience on a journey.” Isn’t this so true? Aren’t the presentations that you’ve enjoyed the most the ones that make you feel as if you’ve take some type of mental trip and now you’re a better person because of it?

So, decide what journey you want to take your audience on and what mental path you want to walk them down. What do you want them to see along the way? What experience can you provide them that may ultimately change their perspective or the way they view the world? Create this type of visual imagery in their mind and you certainly will never be forgotten.

Limit Your Main Points

Deliver too much information and your audience is likely to feel overwhelmed. That also makes it hard for them to know what to retain and what to let go, decreasing the likelihood that they will walk away with the message you intend to send. Therefore, another tip to crafting an unforgettable presentation is to limit your information to just one, two, or three main points max.

To help you do this, think about what you want someone in your audience to say if they were asked what your presentation was about. Then craft the information you provide so that it puts the points you want to make front and center. Additionally, omit any details that are unnecessary and could stop them from remembering your key topic or ideas.

Choose the Best Visuals for You

In these technologically advanced times, you have access to a number of electronic options when it comes to your presentation visuals. For instance, you may decide to do a PowerPoint presentation, develop a video, or even some combination of these. There are some non-electronic visuals that can be effective as well, such as handouts and using physical objects. Which ones should you use?

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, but there are some things you can do t0 help you select the best visuals for your presentation. For starters, you want to be familiar with whatever visuals you create. So, if you go with PowerPoint, for example, practice not only advancing forward to the next slide, but also going back to a previous slide in case someone has a question and you want to illustrate a point you previously made. The more skilled you are, the more confident you will be and the more professional you will appear.

Another suggestion when choosing the right visuals for you is to think about the room you are going to be presenting in. How much space is there for your visuals? How big do they have to be so that everyone can see them? If possible, go to the room beforehand, set up your presentation, and make sure it can be easily viewed no matter what seat your audience member is in.

Think About Your Colors and Fonts

If you want to take your presentation from just ho-hum to absolutely captivating, you will want to use the right colors and fonts in your visuals. To help you with this, Think Outside the Slide offers this practical advice:

  • Use either sans-serif, Arial, or Calibri fonts as these are easier to read when they are enlarged on a big screen
  • Keep your fonts 24-point or larger so they are readable by your audience
  • Use colors that contrast, making the words easier to see (they even offer a Color Contrast Calculator if you need help with this based on the color scheme you want to use)

These are just a few of the things you can do to craft an unforgettable presentation. And if you’re looking for more tips as to how to present the information verbally, read 8 Tips to Becoming an Impactful Speaker.

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by Christina DeBusk // Freelance writer, author, and small business consultant committed to helping entrepreneurs achieve higher levels of success.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.