If you’ve ever been to a conference of any sort, you probably know what we’re talking about when we say “boring.” A good number of people give speeches and presentations their best shot, but sometimes their best just isn’t all that great. Witnessing a lackluster speech is sometimes worse than a root canal (at least they have numbing agents for that). Usually, these kinds of speeches involve a lot of wrist checking—whether you have a watch or not—and counting minutes.
The worst part of it is that it’s incredibly common to find yourself sitting at a presentation you know could be a whole lot better, especially in the tech industry. Even if you only have a speck of presentation talent, a few tried and true tools can help even the dullest of presenters. Let’s have a look at them.
Use Your Biggest Asset: Your Audience
Wake ‘em up! Rise and shine, listeners. What’s the best way to make an audience more receptive to your messages? Use them—literally. Tie them into your presentation. Don’t ask questions you don’t expect them to answer; ask questions they should be answering. Wait for people to answer. If they don’t answer, ask it again. Make them think.
If you’re not really sure if the audience in front of you will interact with you in that way, you can always break the ice a little by getting creative. Do you have a statistic that says a third of a target demographic eats dinner before six? Make people get up and move. Put a third on one side of the room, and put the other two thirds on the other. Arrange the chairs in this fashion before people come in, even. It’s okay to break the fourth wall.
Use the Right Jokes For the Right Audience
We’re in the tech industry—that means that there are plenty of people in the niche that know about all kinds of silly jokes. If you know your audience is particularly nerdy, for example, Star Trek and Star Wars references wouldn’t be too off base. If you’re not sure, you can always add silly pictures and (appropriate) song clips. Of course, make sure you know who you’re presenting to. Some jokes might go a little awry if they’re told in front of the wrong audience, and you don’t want to be known as “the guy who did a presentation that no one really understood.”
You Don’t Always Need the PowerPoint
We love our slides! This is because we like having them behind us to lean on in case we forget something. Sometimes, it’s not always to benefit the audience. We’ve all seen PowerPoint slide after PowerPoint slide of Cliff Note-style text without any transitions or custom backgrounds. If you have to use the PowerPoint, feel free to jazz it up a little. Add transitions, silly pictures, or comedic timing into your slide presentation. Don’t be afraid to step away from it completely, either—sometimes saying things that aren’t on the screen will engage your audience the best.
Not everyone is born a star presentation giver, but by following the tips above, you might just become a more memorable face in your niche.