You might be thinking it’s nearly impossible to create a presentation that’s interesting from start to finish, but when done right, you can actually present something that can hook your audience and make them want to learn more about your products, services, or company. One way to do that is to turn your presentation into a story.
Here’s how you can achieve that and clearly get your point across at the same time.
Be a storyteller
Everyone loves a good story that keeps them on the edge of their seats, so why not turn your presentation into one?
Create a presentation so that the sequence of slides and text lead up to the sole purpose or main point of the presentation—just like the sequence of events in a story that happen before the plot’s “twist”. If done right, this keeps your audience engaged and wanting to know more. When you treat a presentation like a story—creating a “catchy” opening, catching them off-guard with a good “twist” or “aha” moment in the presentation, and leaving them with a juicy “cliffhanger”—, you’re creating a sense of intrigue surrounding your product, service, or company, inviting the audience to explore even further, and in turn, generating more leads and even sales.
Keep in mind, though, that while an engaging, compelling storyline can certainly hook readers, when you’re the one telling the story, the compelling storyline won’t translate well if you’re telling it with a bland tone of voice. Therefore, don’t just read out the slides like you’re reading a school textbook, show your audience that this story matters to you, and not only that, but that you’re telling the story to them because they (the audience) matter to you just as much.
Create an outline
Some authors, while good at narrating, can really struggle with keeping their ideas organized and the series of events in their story logical. This is why they first create a rough outline to keep them in check.
Same goes to your presentation; make sure you create an outline before you get started so that it doesn’t end up looking like a nonsensical group of slides just thrown together. Your outline will help you stay focused on the aim and goal of your presentation instead of veering off to a different topic. Remember: the point of the presentation or “story” you’re trying to tell is to keep your audience engaged and glued to their computer screens, so if you end up going slightly off-topic in your presentation, you might risk losing your audience’s attention. With that being said, the outline can help keep you on track and prevent you from making this common presentation mistake.
Another thing to remember is that your outline doesn’t have to be the end all be all, so don’t spend too much time on it. This outline is just to help you stay on-topic and organize your ideas. The presentation might end up looking a little different from your outline, and that’s okay! Again, the aim of your outline is to keep you focused on the aim and goal of your presentation, and creating content relevant to that goal.
Vary the content you present
You know how some action sequences are thrown in-between the storytelling to keep you engaged and wanting to get to the end of the story? These little events are imperative to keeping the audience’s focus and attention. When it’s just the same old thing every other page, you’ll quickly lose the readership’s interest and will to continue reading your novel.
And since we’re trying to turn your presentation into a story, you’ll want to do the same thing—add in different content so that you keep your audience engaged. The different content can be in the form of data like statistics, numbers, charts, and graphs, or maybe even case studies, quotes, or video clips. You can also make your content interactive by getting your audience involved in the presentation or “story”—think along the lines of quizzes, polls, and open-ended questions that spark useful discussions amongst attendees.
Note that this isn’t the same as a “filler,” which is only there to add more “beef” to the material you’re presenting. If you find that you’re short on content in your presentation, make sure the interactive material or content that you’re using isn’t there to just fill in empty space. The audience will notice this, and that will drastically decrease the quality of your presentation. Whatever content you use to add more slides, don’t view it as just that, a filler. View it as a chance or opportunity to hook your audience and make your presentation more meaningful.
Remember, show some emotion!
Storytellers know how to reflect the intensity of a novel in their tone of voice. When reading out the slides in your presentation, show a healthy dose of emotion when doing so. Show your audience why they need to get to the end of the presentation or “story,” or in other words, how your company or product will satisfy their needs.