Elizabethkuhnke's Blog

Captive Content

Posted on: October 12, 2010

How to write a presentation which makes the point as well as keeping the audience’s attention:

More often than not presenters want to share everything they know about their subject. That’s like juggling the kitchen sink, the bedroom furniture, and the children’s toys all at the same time. Your listener gets overwhelmed, their interest wanes, and your point gets lost in the detail. So how do you stop this from happening?

Connect with your audience. What are their interests, needs, and concerns? Stand in their shoes and see the situation from their point of view. By selecting the relevant information to juggle for your listener, you ensure their attention from the outset.

Stick to the Rule of Three. Be selective. Three points, supported by no more than three sub-points each, is plenty for both you and your audience to juggle at one time.

Summarise. No matter how interesting, relevant, and engaging your presentation, your audience will forget what you’ve said if you fail to remind them. When you begin, tell them what you are going to tell them. In the middle, tell them. At the end, tell them what you told them. By juggling your presentation this way, your listener will retain your message.

REMEMBER: A long string of facts and data is hard to remember. When you chunk information into three sub-divisions it’s much easier to retain. Example: the letter sequence – adgjlmcnb is more easily remembered as adg – jlm – cnb.

TIP: Research shows that the brain can easily process pictures and words simultaneously, so juggle some visuals into your presentations. Images add impact.

TECHNICAL: Neuroscientists state that the human brain has a finite attention span. After 20 minutes it simply ‘shuts off’. So juggle information into three 20 minute sessions as opposed to giving a 1 hour presentation.

CAUTION: Avoid text heavy slides. Studies show that the brain cannot effectively juggle visual and verbal words simultaneously.

FINALLY: By applying juggling skills to your presentations you connect with your audience, refine your content, and enhance your delivery.

COMMENTS: As always we value your thoughts and experiences. What hints and tips can you share about your juggling skills?

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

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4 Responses to "Captive Content"

Some sound advice. I am currently working on a presentation to a Security Managers Seminar and they have actually prescribed the format they want it in. (Same old, same old) But have taken some of the tips in this article and maybe re-jig it a bit.

Thank you for the reminder, and useful content. When I learnt that there is freedom within the structure ie the Power of 3 it lead to a wonderful feeling of safety and permission to be creativite with content.
To add variety I like to combine facts, stories and include the audinece for their input.

Timely post! Am about to re-jig a previous presentation and will bear the ‘power of 3’ in mind! I also like to do short-bursts then have a break, perhaps a task/activity, so that I’m not doing all the talking 🙂

Thanks for your feedback, Debbie. So glad you found the post useful, good luck with your upcoming presentation. Love the idea of using an activity to involve the audience!

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