Tips, Tricks and Hacks for delivering more engaging and persuasive presentations

Are you also tired of boring and endless PowerPoint presentations with no audience interaction or engagement?

So were MDC and it showed up that many of our members felt the same. So for the second time, MDC invited Chris Rycroft, a specialist presentation coach, to coach a course exclusively for the maritime industry.

Chris is rather unique and unusual in how he approaches the topic, introducing us to some great tips, tricks and hacks that help us present with today’s information overloaded audiences. 

The day was very interactive and with many exercises. We all got hands-on experience using some serious and some of the unusual tricks on how to connect with your audience, in a different way that resulted in far more engaging presentations.

You weren’t there? We are happy to share them - and don’t forget, a presentation is not only on a stage, but it can often be when you are sitting opposite someone in in a meeting!

Start with the end in mind to get what you want!

Begin with defining what you want to obtain, your Goal or your Point B, by the end of your presentation. Now, once you have defined your end point, it’s easier to find material that will help you achieve your Point B and no more!

With many audiences now and particularly when you present to Senior Executives you should even present your Point B or Executive Summary at the start.

As a tip, when you have built your presentation, print out your presentation slides (1 slide per page) and lay them out on a table. Then make a “helicopter-view” where you evaluate the slides focusing on your Point B. This technique has many benefits:

  1. You can easily see if your material now will achieve your Point B or if you need to change the order of the slides

  2. If you visually have too much text on the slides

  3. If you have too many of the same looking slides

  4. If the text is too small  or the table isn’t clear

  5. If you have too many slides. If a slide does not underline your target, leave it out!

Extra Tip: Lay the printed slide on the floor, if from your height, you can’t read the slide, then your audience won’t be able to read it either!

Move for a reason!

How many times have you seen a presenter walk aimlessly around? Clear movement has power, so when you move ( and you should move regularly), move for a reason and adopt your “at home” posture of feet, hip width apart and being upright in your posture.

So what…what’s in it for me (WIIFM) and what’s in it for YOU (WIIFY)

Too many presentations are boring and fail because the presenter is in focus and not the audience. For example a typical problem that we see is that many people have their company story as their third slide. This is all Presenter Focus WIIFM and NOT audience focus WIIFY. Put your audience in focus first before you talk about yourself AND if you do talk about yourself, then present that through the eyes of your audience.

Always keep your audience in mind and ask yourself the WIIFY question - What’s in it for you? We tend to focus on the topics we find relevant to ourselves, the so-called WIIFM – What’s in it for me? 

Why you need to catch the attention of your audience in the first 90 seconds?

Audiences today have many, many other things on their mind than your presentation. You therefore need to capture your audience within the first 60-90 seconds! Try a question, a surprising fact, a provocative statement, a short film, a connection to a recent event, an analogy or perhaps a short human interest story.

How to make your slides more engaging with a simple trick

Most slide title are singular words and are not very engaging, start to write action oriented slide titles that say what the slide means and help the audience follow your story.

Example: “Third Quarter results” turns into “Sales were significantly up in the Third Quarter”

Don’t make your audience bored! Here are a few tricks…

As a minimum, your audience’s attention span is approx. 6-8 minutes (shorter for younger audiences) therefore you should change media:

  1. Use the flip chart or whiteboard

  2. Talk from the PowerPoint presentation

  3. Activate the crowd with an exercise

  4. Ask a question

  5. …or have you ever thought of “the black finger”? Make the screen black and pause you slides for a little while to get the full attention of your audience. Just press the “B” button.

Finally, we were at the premises of one of our members, WeatherNews, so we also had a very engaging and interactive session with Mark Giesken, who explained some of the unique nuances about weather forecasting for ships.

The course was conducted by Chris Rycroft, Professional Communications Coach at Percepti Global, read more here

Read more about the course here