We’ve all sat through them–presentations that feel like they go on for hours and at the end, you struggle to remember what they were about. Grabbing audience attention and keeping it the entire time is a common problem that many presenters face. In fact, a recent study found that humans only have an eight second attention span. To put that number into perspective, the attention span of a goldfish is nine–one second longer than a human.
Many factors–from lack of wireless presentation software and struggling with equipment set up to outside noise and lack of preparedness–can affect whether or not a presentation is a success. One of the primary reasons why some fail is simply because they didn’t engage with multiple senses, particularly visual. Visual content often increases understanding and engages people, because 90% of information is processed through visual means. On average, people process images 60,000 times faster than text.
When presenters use poor visuals or none at all, it can negatively affect the overall presentation. Deciding what types to use can be difficult, especially when talking about technical and complex concepts. Here are some creative ideas for your next presentation.
Infographics take simple facts and statistics and make them more interesting by pairing them with appealing visuals. Although they are most commonly found on websites, they can be a valuable addition to presentations.
For example, when discussing the importance of tech-based employee engagement programs, pairing statistics about the success of these programs with graphics can keep the audience engaged. Showing a few parts of the infographic at a time, then showing the entire infographic can help reinforce the big picture–engaging employees to improve business performance. There are dozens of programs like Piktochart and Easel.ly that allow users to create infographics at no-cost.
The technical term for pairing data with visuals is called data visualization, and it is a crucial concept for IT and other business leaders to learn. Graphs are an age-old data visualization tool that at first might seem like a stale choice for presentations. However, advancements in data and graphing tools continue to make them relevant and valuable. How presenters utilize them is more important.
Now, graphs can visualize information in real-time and can be used to interact with audiences. When proposing new strategy or other business changes, it is important to visualize the difference that those changes could make. Interactive graphs could be manipulated to display past, present, and predicted future data sets. There are a number of online collaboration tools like Google Charts and infogr.am that individuals can use to create interactive graphics cost-effectively.
Animated Slideshows and Videos
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but a video can be worth a million. At least, that is what many studies and statistics suggest. In fact, one study from Forrester research claims that a video is worth about 1.8 million words. Also, people are fascinated by video, consuming hundreds of millions hours of it on Youtube everyday.
As a visual aid, certain short videos can be powerful. Videos of user testimonials or demos of products help reinforce what the presenter is saying and add a human touch to simple data points. Of course, when used as part of a presentation, video should only be a supplement. The speaker should be the primary source of information and discourse. If you could present the same information in a video in your presentation, you probably shouldn’t rely on it.
Speaking to an audience can be stressful for even the most experienced presenters, and today, it can be more difficult to captivate an audience. However, incorporating creative, interactive visuals into your presentations can help improve understanding and keep your audience engaged from beginning to end.