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How to Turn a Boring Presentation Into One That Inspires People to Take Action

How to Turn a Boring Presentation Into One That Inspires People to Take Action

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The people in the front row are on their iPhone, mindlessly scrolling through their Facebook feed for the tenth time today…

A few spare seats make up row two and three, but the people who have turned up are distracted. They are gazing into the distance, chatting amongst themselves, and generally disinterested in what you have to say.

Your presentation isn’t hitting a chord with your audience.

In this scenario, it’s easy to deflect and believe that the audience is the problem, not you. After all, you’ve done hours of preparation and have a slide deck full of well-researched stats and information.

But this way of thinking isn’t helpful, and it certainly won’t contribute to improving your next presentation.

Think about it for a moment. These people have turned up to see your presentation for a reason. They have a vested interest in what you have to say, but you’ve lost them somewhere along the way. Is it possible that your ability to prepare and deliver an engaging presentation is lacking?

If you want to turn your next presentation from a boring lecture into an inspirational TED talk, then you need to dedicate time to fine-tuning your approach. The challenge is knowing which things you need to work on to learn and improve.

The rest of this article will help you understand the three key areas to focus on so you can take your presentation skills up a notch and WOW your audience.

BONUS: Keen to gain insights into how to create winning presentations that will WOW your audience? Follow our 3-part framework from this free eBook to turn your boring slides into an engaging presentation.

Part 1 – Content


The first area of focus for any great presentation is the content. This is the substance of your presentation and will lay the groundwork for your design and delivery. (More about them in a moment)

The content of your presentation needs to tell a compelling story to your audience that will evoke emotion and inspire action. They need to see themselves in the shoes of your story’s hero and believe they too can overcome obstacles to achieve the outcomes you are promising.

To tap into the art of storytelling and take your audience on a journey you need to start with the end in mind. Why are you giving this presentation, why should your audience care, and where are you taking them? What is the future state they can expect to arrive at after listening to your presentation?

Once you know where you are taking your audience, you can work backward to create a compelling story and the content that supports that story.

After watching you present, your audience should:

  • Know the WHY of your presentation.
  • Understand a shortlist of key messages that support and contribute to that WHY.
  • Feel emotionally attached to your story and inspired to take action on your advice.

When you are preparing the content for your presentation you have to take these things into consideration. Don’t get lost in slide decks and data. Come up for air and deliver a message that your audience is excited to hear.

Part 2 – Design


Without design, your content will be dry and boring. While you don’t want the audience to drown in PowerPoint slides, you do need a way to visually depict your story and conceptualize the ideas from your content preparation.

A well-designed presentation will convey your message powerfully without distracting the audience from the presenter. It is made up of fonts, colors, visuals, graphics, animations, and other forms of media that combine to deliver an unforgettable visual experience for the people in the room.

Of course, not everyone is a graphic designer or has a knack for this kind of thing. So what makes for good presentation design?

Here are some vital design elements that contribute to a stellar presentation:

  • Consistency – when it comes to slide design, colors, fonts, and the use of visuals.
  • Empty space – using empty (or white) space in your slide deck will draw the audience’s eyes to the most important information on the screen.
  • Structured layout – people read from left to right and top to bottom, use this to guide them through the journey you are taking them on.
  • Compelling visuals – design graphics to visualize data or animate important points, and leverage emotional images to create a connection with your audience.

Together your content and design prepare you for game day, but without an effective approach to delivering your presentation, this hard work will go to waste.

Part 3 – Delivery


Getting up on stage in front of a group of people isn’t for everyone. In fact, it elicits a significant amount of fear and anxiety for those that don’t do it very often.

So how can you overcome these fears and deliver a memorable presentation?

Here are some tips:

  • Get in the right mindset. It’s not about you, it’s about the audience. You are doing the audience a disservice if you get up on stage and stare blankly at your shoes, read from a piece of paper, and stumble your way through a list of disconnected messages. Come from a contribution mindset and appreciate that the audience is there for a reason, they want you to succeed.
  • Embrace nerves and anxiety. A few nerves and jitters before you get up on stage are normal. Learn to understand your feelings, embrace them, and use those nerves to excel in your preparation. Breathe, slow down your rate of talking, and settle into the presentation.
  • Put yourself in their shoes. Prepare and practice for your presentation by understanding the audience you are talking to. Find common ground and use humility to connect with them on a deeper level.

When in unison, content, design, and delivery combine to execute powerful presentations. But they don’t work in isolation.

Without beautiful design, your content will be dull. And without expert delivery, your design won’t be appreciated. You need to combine all three of these elements together if you want to WOW people the next time you have the opportunity.

BONUS: Keen to gain insights into how to create winning presentations that will WOW your audience? Follow our 3-part framework from this free eBook to turn your boring slides into an engaging presentation.

Guest Author: Paul Coelho is the Sales Director and Co-Founder at Slidemaster, a presentation design agency specialised in PowerPoint Presentations and Explainer Videos.

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