Ever felt like you were presenting to a group of zombies? There are plenty of ways to lose a crowd. But fortunately there are also lots of ways to keep your audience from zoning out and remembering your key points.
You know the look: glassy eyes, far-away stare, chin in hands. Odds are, your presentation on the new invoice format is going in this employee’s one ear and out the other. Lucky for you, the rest of your finance team seems to be listening.
But even though they’re paying attention to you, they could easily be forgetting half the things you’re saying. After all, how often do you remember every last point from a presentation?
Keep their attention
Your employees need to stay engaged and interested during presentations in order to improve their retention. Here are five strategies to do just that, courtesy of CEO Bruce Kasanoff:
1. Draw attention to the important points. Find a way to make key points in your presentation stand out. People, including audiences, tend to pay attention to only a small portion of what’s going on around them. Make sure you’re grabbing that small portion for yourself. That means not just reading directly from a text-heavy slide.
2. Make your information stand out. How many times have your employees heard similar presentations? In this case, repetition doesn’t always lead to memorization. It just leads to boredom. Find a way make your message deviate from what they may have already heard.
3. Get your audience involved. By asking thought-provoking questions and encouraging conversation, you’re allowing your audience time to process your message deeply. Simply reading off the most recent profit loss numbers might not get the information to stick with your employees. But asking them how the numbers can be improved and what steps can be taken will engrain the data in their heads.
4. Avoid information overload. A 30-minute presentation doesn’t have to contain 30 straight minutes of information. Give your audience time to consider your message and allow them to generate their own content. Your finance employees know their stuff. Let them put that knowledge to use during your presentation by focusing more on the “how” and “why” rather than the “what.”
5. Keep it short and sweet. No matter how riveting your presentation may be, you’re bound to lose people if it goes too long. Even the most focused employee can get distracted by thoughts of work waiting back at her desk or how uncomfortable her chair is.