The biggest concern presentation designers constantly need to overcome is creating something that is both educational and entertaining – a difficult balancing act to perform while still delivering the message! Keeping the audience engaged throughout the duration of the talk, be it for conference presentations or sales deck pitches, is an ongoing challenge no matter how experienced you may be, as audience expectations are always changing.
So how can you keep them focused on the subject to create a memorable presentation that will stay with them long after it has ended? Before we talk about some of those ideas, let’s go over a few of the mistakes more commonly made when presenting:
If these are the most common mistakes made for keynote presentations, then what else can be done to make it a more interesting experience for the audience once they have been rectified?
The human brain relies on visual stimulation just as much as it does aural and the images used during a conference presentation will play a key role in its success. Remember, you are the one closest to the screen and can easily see and understand the images being displayed. Whether the audience is 5, 15 or 25 feet away, most people will not have the time all of the picture detail if it is too complicated, while still paying attention to you speaking.
Presentation designers need to use images that are immediately clear and understandable. Use animation to liven up a sales deck so they can digest the information more easily. Integrating video is also a fantastic idea that grabs the attention of everyone in the room. Still images need to be big enough to see without dominating the page, but defined clearly to help you make your point.
A great keynote presentation is more than just the elements used on screen and how the presenter disseminates the information to the audience. While crucial to its success, there are other aspects that need to be paid close attention to, such as the ambience in the room, including lighting, visibility and even the seating arrangement, especially for those at the sides and back.
It can be easy to overlook the important role lighting plays, but think about how it effects you at home. If you want to relax in the evening you might want to dim the lights, or put on a lamp. Bright, glaring bulbs are not going to put you in the right frame of mind to unwind.
The right use of colour tones and textures used onstage also allow the eyes of the audience to concentrate during conference presentations. You don’t need to be a world famous light designer to do so either. Just avoid creating a set that is too bright, dark or filled with clashing colours that are difficult to look at. The lighting should complement the room and company brand to make it easy for the speaker to remain the focal point throughout.
The use of either animation or video (or even both) in conference presentations offer very creative ways to keep your audience interested. Of course, as with the use of still images, you do not want to overload it with too much but just enough to grab the attention of the audience so they stay with you throughout.
Inserting video into a keynote presentation is a more straightforward process as you can use any number of videos currently found online. Creating an animation requires a high level of PowerPoint proficiency, however, if you or your current designers can find the time to learn this skill it would add a considerable amount of power to the message being delivered.
More than ever there is a greater emphasis placed on interactivity with consumers today, creating a more rounded experience through social media, website, mobile apps and other activities. This also translates into the presentation arena, and those confident enough to engage with their audience and create a more expansive keynote presentation will reap the benefits.
This can be anything from injecting a little humour (nothing rude or offensive), storytelling (people always love to hear well told, relevant stories), use of technology that requires the audience to respond in some way, or even inviting people to get involved as you progress. There are many ways to create an interactive experience and the only thing limiting it is your own imagination.
At Presentation Experts we specialise in designing conference presentations, with years of experience through our sister company Purple Patch Events. Where we spend most of our time creating and organising corporate events and conferences for global brands.