I’m a voice coach so normally I would talk about physical and vocal skills when it comes to sensational presenting. How you look and how you sound are always at the top of my list of important skills.
But today I’d like to give you a few tips I was given recently that spoke to me on another level.
The 3 tips I’m giving you here are not so much about the mechanics of delivering your words as they are about being human.
Sensational presenting really starts to sing when you remember that a presentation is so much more than just words and information.
Sensational Presenting: The Head, The Heart, and The Hand
A veteran presenter once told me before a speech, ‘Lead them by the head, the heart, and the hand.’.
Think of your presentation as being more than just words and information. It will help any stiff formality or obstacles between you and the audience fall away.
How can you connect with your audience as a human being in a room full of human beings?
People want to be touched emotionally. When you reach out to your audience on an emotional level, they will trust more readily. And trust is what you want from your audience.
First, you have to assure the audience that you’re worth listening to. After all, they’ve taken time out to be there and want to know their time is being well spent.
You need to establish your credibility with the audience. Sensational presenting shows the audience you know your subject. That you are an expert in your field. What’s your pedigree, track record for success?
Second, you need to let them know you’re on their side. Sensational presenting involves your audience liking you or at least knowing that you know their pain.
Let your audience know that you are aware of their challenges and that you have answers to help them with those challenges.
The audience is always asking themselves one question as they sit there spending their precious time with you: Why should I care about this?
Sensational presenting answers this burning question for the audience. Your audience will care if you show that you care. Perhaps share a story from your own journey that illustrates how you overcame obstacles or challenges of your own.
When they hear you’ve overcome difficulties yourself, they know you empathize with them.
Lastly, the hand metaphor refers to what they take away from your presentation. Sensational presenting leads the audience towards some kind of practical, concrete steps or knowledge they can take home and put into practice.
The audience comes in with questions and wants to leave with answers. Put into their hands something they can use, a tool that will help them with their challenges.
This reminds me of Chris Anderson’s definition of persuasion as ‘the act of replacing someone’s world view with something better’. The audience wants to leave feeling different than when they came in.
The 30, 20, 10 Rule in Sensational Presenting
This is a tried and tested rule that all sensational presenting incorporates to some degree. It’s a great example of ‘a little knowledge goes a long way’.
Simply stated, 30 is the minimum font size to use on slides, 20 is the maximum length of a presentation in minutes, and 10 is the maximum number of slides to use.
The 30, 20, 10 rule will help you avoid Death By Powerpoint and avoid losing your audience. Here’s how it works.
Font Size Matters For Sensational Presenting – 30 points
Here’s a good rule of thumb when it comes to your slides: 30 point font is the minimum size to be visible from the audience.
One of the easiest mistakes to make on your slides is trying to cram in as much information as possible by using smaller font. Sensational presenting takes into account the tried and tested rule ‘More Is Not Necessarily Better’.
If you try to squash in loads of words on the screen, your audience will end up not reading any of it. And worse, they’ll be so distracted by the fact that they can’t read what they’re supposed to be able to read that they’ll stop listening to you.
Your audience would much rather listen to you speak than be reading off the screen in a read-along with you.
Keep Them Wanting More – 20 minutes
20 minutes is enough time to say what you need to say about pretty much anything. Every audience will thank you for keeping it short. Sensational presenting means having the ability to cut and crop your content for the sake of your audience.
If you have 20 minutes allocated to you for a presentation, plan a 10 minutes presentation. You will probably speak for twice your rehearsed time when the adrenaline starts kicking in so leave yourself some wiggle room.
Sensational presenting always follows this rule of thumb: Brevity Is Beauty.
Less Is More In Amazing Presentations – 10 slides
Ultimately, your slides are there only to help you tell your story better. They are not there to be a crutch for you if you’re not prepared or don’t know your content. 10 slides or less is adequate to support any story.
Slides are never the story in sensational presenting. You are the story. The slides are only there to serve you and the story. If your tech goes down you still have to give the presentation, without your slides, so be prepared.
You actually don’t needs slides for the majority of sensational presenting. Only use them to add colour and texture to your story. Slides are only there to help the audience to see what you see.
Knowledge Can Be A Dangerous Thing
Sensational presenting involves weeding out what the audience doesn’t need to know and what they do. There’s a great book called ‘Made To Stick’ by Chip and Dan Heath which warns that a lot of knowledge can become a bad thing if left unchecked.
When you’re an expert in your field it can be easy to speak in acronyms, use phrases the audience doesn’t know, or use ‘in jokes’ that leaves 90% of the audience completely lost.
Make your presentation easy for the audience to understand and follow and use simple language. It’s not a matter of dumbing down; it’s a matter of simplicity.
Sensational Presenting And Generosity
Essentially, you want to keep your audience with you, not running to catch up with you or left behind. So keep it simple, remember less is more, and keep your audience in the spotlight. Think of what you can do to make their life easier today and you have a much better chance of delivering a sensational presentation.