Worried about a work presentation? Carmine Gallo, expert keynote speaker and author of The Storyteller’s Secret and Talk Like TED, is the perfect person to ask for advice. Here are six ways he says you can hold your audience’s attention.
1. Practise like a stage performer
A pitch or presentation that captivates your audience should have all the elements of a theatrical production – including props, characters, multimedia and a strong narrative.
And, like any performer, you should put in enough practice time to have your pitch down cold. One famous TED speaker rehearsed her 18-minute presentation more than 200 times!
2. Craft a story
Facts alone are not enough to grab your audience’s attention. Humans are wired for stories – the more personal the better. Use stories to inform, inspire and give context to the information you are presenting.
3. Use more pictures than words in your presentation
It’s well established in neuroscience literature that words and pictures on a presentation slide are more powerful than words alone. PowerPoint does not crush creativity; you do. PowerPoint is not the enemy.
Most speakers cannot hold an audience’s attention on the sheer charisma of their delivery. Multimedia is essential. Keep text short on slides, and never use bullet points alone.
4. Express your passion
Passion is contagious. It’s nearly impossible to persuade someone to back your vision if you are not genuinely and authentically passionate about the topic yourself.
5. Create a headline
Ask yourself, “What is the one thing I want my audience to know?” Answer the question in one sentence that fits the length of a Twitter post – no more than 140 characters – and deliver it at least twice in your presentation.
6. Get feedback
Most people will not offer unsolicited feedback on your presentation, so try out your pitch on friends or peers, and ask for their thoughts on the delivery and content of your message.