4 Presentation Techniques Get Your Audience’s Attention
Does your team struggle to implement presentation techniques that capture the audience’s attention?
Presentations and effective presentation techniques are difficult to master, especially as there is so much contrasting information out there. We have put together our top four tips to get and keep attention when giving in-person and virtual presentations.
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Four Presentation Techniques
Monotony is easy. Instinct can lead your team to focus on information covered rather than the delivery. While it is good that care is being taken to cover content, an audience may struggle to engage with the material or maintain attention.
Your team might be nervous or trying to stick to time constraints which can lead to information delivery appearing flat. If the presenter’s tone does not change, audiences are also more likely to feel talked at, which may impact information retention.
Humans, by nature, are easily distracted. There’s research that shows it can take 23 minutes to focus after a distraction which can be detrimental to a team giving a 25 minute presentation. Lack of tone change in the first minutes of a presentation may mean that the audience quickly experience attention fatigue and become distracted.
We encourage the use of vocal techniques that change tone such as inflections , altering pitch or pace and emotions that help a presentation become more dynamic. This approach aids attention and reduces the likelihood of attention fatigue because the audience does not just hear a monotone.
If implementing vocal techniques is daunting for your team, an alternative approach is to focus on delivering speech that is conversational to provide effective virtual training. This draws focus towards the presentation as a whole rather than trying to work out where specific vocal techniques can be implemented, which your team may find easier to accomplish.
2. Build Your Points
If your team covers all of the key points in the first three minutes and then goes into the detail and description afterwards, audiences are more likely to lose interest because they’ve already been told what they need to know. Instead, encourage your team to guide their audience by building towards key points.
The human attention span lasts for an average of eight seconds. By building to points rather than stating them early on, your team is more likely to sustain the attention of their audience. While valuable information is given it should be spread throughout the presentation to encourage the engagement and focus of the audience.
We can think of this building process like a painting, gradually adding color to slowly reveal the final image. You don’t want to give everything away at the beginning but you also need to imply and make suggestions to make the conclusion make sense.
Encourage your team to use statistics and examples to show evidence that supports their key points and enables the audience to construct a comprehensive view of concepts and ideas that are covered.
3. Ask Questions
Questions are a useful presentation technique when looking at both skill transfer and sustaining audience attention.
Not only does it encourage information processing to formulate an answer (thus, helping understanding) but questions require strategic thinking and critical analysis of given material. This analysis offers a greater incentive for audiences to remain focused because the more attention that is paid, the easier it is to formulate answers.
In addition to this, questions break up the flow of giving information. In a presentation an endless stream of material can seem intense. If an audience feels overwhelmed they are less likely to pay attention because there is too much of a demand placed on processing.
While it may be a habit to ask the audience if they have any questions, constructing an open question based on the information already given is a more effective technique. We suggest using content as a springboard to set up questions. Your team’s presentations become more engaging as queries are applied and relevant to what the audience has been told.
To develop this further your team could ask a question at the beginning of their presentation and then spend their time striving to reach the answer as a conclusion. This links with the previous ‘build’ technique because content is gradually working towards the answer to a key question.
We’ve already looked at how your team can read their audience’s focus in the virtual classroom but considering body language of the presenter is a valuable technique. Successful non-vebal communication can encourage and help maintain an audience’s attention.
You know by now that 93% of communication is non-verbal which means that in a presentation you can deliver incredible content that engages through tone, tells stories and asks questions. If your team is nervous, it may be a natural instinct to reduce movement and concentrate on speech. After all, the information is the most important part of a presentation…
That’s not quite true. If the 7% of verbal communication is really strong but non-verbal communication does not attain the same level your team may be negatively influencing their audience’s attentiveness.
Body language offers cues to an audience that indicate whether or not they should be paying attention. Think of a presentation as you would an interview; if your team doesn’t seem interested in what they are saying, how can you expect their audience to be?
Often considered in slightly different ways, it is important to remember that non-verbal communication is important for both in-person and virtual presentations.
During face-to-face presentations you can suggest maintaining techniques like eye contact, whereas eye-line during a digital presentation is most effective if speakers are addressing the web-cam that is being used.
Posture plays a role in all presentations and an engaged body can be interpreted as an interested mind. If presenters stand (or sit), it is best to avoid slouching or leaning. In turn, the audience are more likely to infer that they should be as focused and attentive as well.
Monotony is Easy - Instead Change Tone and Make a Presentation a Conversation
Build To Points - Give the Audience the Opportunity to See the Big Picture
Ask Questions - Open Questions Help Independent Thinking
Be Aware of Non-Verbal Cues - An Engaged Presenter Means Engaged Audience
Giving presentations that hold audience attention is not necessarily a skill that your team will automatically have but it is a skill that anyone can learn!
This is where we come in. At The Virtual Training Team we can guide you through a workshop that upskills Delivering Presentations Virtually.