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What NSA Chief Keith Alexander Can Teach Us About Presenting to a Tough Crowd

Yesterday, The National Security Agency Chief Keith Alexander presented to a room full of hackers and cyber security experts at the Black Hat Conference in Las Vegas. The NSA has monopolized the headlines over the extent of their spying activities on U.S. citizens, such as the controversial “PRISM” program, became known to the public. Further controversy arose when it was reported that the NSA had lied to Congress about the existence of such programs. During yesterday’s speech, a couple audience members made their distaste for the NSA’s activities known in a very vocal manner.

Hecklers, or even just an unruly, disrespectful crowd, has the potential to derail any presentation. You can’t control when you’ll experience an undesirable crowd, but you can control how you react to it. Say what you will about the NSA’s activities, but there is a lesson to be learned from how gracefully Alexander handled himself in the face of aggressive hecklers.

Don’t Lose Your Cool

President Barack Obama
Some audiences may agitate you to the point where you want to yell like President Barack Obama, but keeping one’s cool is an important lesson in presenting.

It’s always an awkward moment when a presenter gets visibly angry. It’s one of those terrible “can’t-look-away” moments you don’t want to be the focus of. Nobody ever looks good squabbling with audience members, so it’s always important that, no matter how angry, aggressive, or insulting a crowd may get, you never stoop down to their level.

Another often infuriating aspect of presenting is if your audience seems to be paying no attention to you at all. Sure, you’ll always have a few people in the audience texting–maybe even snoozing a bit–but it’s still irksome when some have the nerve to carry on a casual conversation while you’re giving a speech right in front of them.

Although it’s not quite as uncomfortable as openly arguing with an audience member, pausing your speech to “shh” someone can be a little awkward too. Use your best judgement here. If the unruly, oblivious audience member is beginning to distract others, it’s okay to politely and respectfully ask if they could keep their voice down.

Similarly, if a heckler seems hell-bent on distracting you and demands a response, and there isn’t any event security to assist you here, it’s best to ask if they wait until the end of the presentation to approach you with comments or questions.

The most important thing, in either case, is to keep a cool head. More often than not, hecklers are looking for a reaction.

“If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”

That saying isn’t totally applicable, but if you watch this short clip of Alexander’s speech, when the hecklers begin to yell out while he is talking, rather than ignore or try to speak over them, Alexander ad lib’s them into his speech. While not all of us may be comfortable enough doing this so naturally, it’s an effective way to keep the attention in the room focused on your topic, not what the hecklers are shouting about.

A bad crowd, or a few bad eggs in it, is never desirable, and hopefully it isn’t a common occurrence. Most rude audience members in the business world are often simply bored or oblivious, and the best solution is simply to be captivating enough to keep the crowd focused on the topic of your choosing.

 

Reference:

Menn, Joseph. “NSA Chief Defends Surveillance Programs at Hacking Conference.Reuters. July 31, 2013.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Slide Design

We here at SlideGenius have witnessed far too many glaring mistakes on homemade PowerPoint presentations that make us want to pull our hair out. Unfortunately, what seems like common sense to us concerning what and what not to do with slide design is often lost on amateur PowerPoint creators.

When giving a corporate presentation (or a presentation of any importance, for that matter), we highly recommend going to the pros and employing the expertise of a PowerPoint specialist, but when you decide to do it yourself, here are some Do’s and Don’ts to pay attention to on your slides.

LiveNation21
In this slide designed by SlideGenius, the text is a compliment to the presenter. By phrasing the bullet points as questions, it keeps the emphasis on the speaker.

Text:

DO: Keep it simple and concise. Your audience should be listening, not reading.

DON’T: Avoid using your slides as your notes to read off of. Your slides are there for your audience, not you.

Color:

Poorly designed PowerPoint Slide
Choose your background and text color with extreme caution, because a mistake like this shows carelessness and a lack of attention to detail.

DO: Use color in the background of your slides to emphasize emotion. Be creative, but conservative. Check out our full post on color psychology for specifics.

DON’T: Be wary about making your background and text color too similar. There’s nothing more amateur than showing up with an illegible PowerPoint presentation.

Statistics:

DO: Simplify, break them up. Visually represent if possible. Avoid unless they’re a key part of your message.

DON’T: Tables, don’t use them to present information. Feather pillows are less conducive to sleep than a table full of figures to an audience.

Creativity:

DO: If you’ve had experience with graphic design, this can be utilized to make your presentation much more engaging. Presenting information in unique ways can keep your audience’s attention much more effectively.

Nonexistent guy shocked at PowerPoint animations
“Oh my God, how did they do those slide transitions? It’s terrifyingly wonderful and impressive!” -Said no one ever.

DON’T: You won’t impress anyone with your knowledge of how to make the words zoom across the page at the beginning of each slide. Don’t go overboard with animations, because they’re often more distracting than anything else.

While it’s fun to be creative and experiment with new design methods, it’s important to remember that a PowerPoint presentation is not a work of art, it’s a tool used to convey information. High-end designing is best left to the professionals.

 

What Kind of Voice do you Have?

Have you ever met someone who is ALWAYS obnoxiously loud when they talk? How about someone who is too quiet? Or maybe someone with a ridiculously deep voice? Similarly, have you ever wondered what people think of your voice?

Voice volume, melody, strength, variety, and overall quality is an essential factor when it comes to how people view us. In any situation, while at a party, in the movie theater, or more importantly, while giving a presentation, people around us are constantly judging how we move, what we say, and how we say it.

Specific to presentations, some believe that our content is most important. While content may be the foundation of the presentation, your delivery is what will decide what the audience think of you, and consequently how they act on your presentation.

Here are three categories of voice that you should focus on to better your next corporate presentation:

Volume

It’s relatively obvious that if your audience can’t hear you, what you’re saying will be of no value. On the other hand, you don’t want to be “that guy” that comes out screaming with unnecessary enthusiasm. Actually in that case, the entire audience is just thinking of ways to kill you, or at least shut you up, which is probably not the takeaway you want to leave them with. Volume should be appropriate in strength and intensity and should be varied in order to add emphasis and dramatic impact to your speeches. Inaudibility is often associated with unintelligibility. If you want to communicate with your audience, you must project your voice. A great way to judge your level is testing whether or not the person sitting in the last row can hear you.

Monotonous vs. Melodious

You are either monotonous or melodious. When you speak about something, it is important to focus on conveying life, color, and melody. We have all had the one professor in school or conference speaker whose sentences come out flat, wooden, and without variety. How wide would you say your vocal range is? Any good speaker will vary their speech within every few sentences and sometimes just for specific words or phrases. Think of your favorite song, and imagine how many peaks from high to low and there are in any given 5 seconds. Those changes in pitch are what make you like the song and bob your head and sing along. While you may not want your audience to bob or sing at what you’re saying, you sure do want their attention, so it is important to make sure you have the right pitch and tune. If you think your voice might be squeaky, harsh, high-pitched, or flat, then you should work on your pitch. This will help express the necessary emotion and conviction needed to keep your audience interested.

Quality & Clarity

The essence of your speaking sound is your voice quality. It expresses emotional color. Your voice coloring is what you use to convey your feelings, and these feelings should be positive when you address an audience. Your thoughts are a form of energy that you transmit to others. Through the quality of your voice, you actually establish the tone of your relationship with an audience or with an individual to whom you’re speaking.

Speaking in a clear, smooth, and enthusiastic voice will help create a unique and useful bond of friendship and acceptance with your listeners. Conversely, if your voice is nasally, raspy, or lifeless, you are doing something wrong. The primary cause of bad voice quality is tension; both emotional and physical.

A useful route to developing your voice quality and clarity lies in the awareness of the different roles you play during a usual day. As a parent, employee, supervisor, friend, lover, shopper, seller, you inherently cultivate unique personality traits and voice levels. To improve your voice quality, you must become aware of stress, muscle tension, and relaxation in each of these roles you live with.

When it comes time to present, in any medium follow these next few tips and ensure a reduction of tension condition:

  1. Relax your throat
  2. Gargle water
  3. Take deep breaths
  4. Smile, for a whole minute before your presentation

 If you reduce the tension in your voice, a pleasant tone will likely result which will in turn reel in your audience. Remember that the emotions and vocal colorings you express with your voice can arouse similar emotions in others.

 

Work Cited:

Your Speaking Voice.

How to Incorporate the Audience into Your Presentation

Whether it’s a dry, sedating lecture from our college days, a training seminar that seems to make time move backwards, or a local politician detailing every bit of a new mundane city ordinance, we’re all painfully familiar with just how stunningly boring some presentations can be. The fatal flaw many of these unexciting presentations make is that they forget to work their audience into the equation when planning and giving their presentation.

Consider your audience when planning your presentation, otherwise this may be the result.
Consider your audience when planning your presentation, otherwise this may be the result.

Breaking “the wall” between you and your audience is a great way to keep them engaged, entertained, and even on their toes throughout your presentation, ensuring that they absorb every bit of what you’re saying. Audience incorporation, when done right, can generate a lot of constructive energy in your presentation, and it can even help you relax and feel more at ease with the group you’re presenting to. Here’s a few tips to make sure you’re doing it correctly.

Don’t Start Off with Audience Participation

The beginning of a presentation, especially in front of a cold audience, is often the most difficult part. Here it is alluring to transfer some of the attention away from yourself to your audience by asking them to participate, but avoid this temptation. At the beginning of your presentation, the audience is also the most unfamiliar with you, so you need to “warm them up” first. Allow them to grow comfortable in their chairs and develop some sense of trust–or at least familiarity–with you. However, don’t let them grow too comfortable. Many communications experts will argue that audience members switch to “TV mode” after about five minutes, where they will switch to a passive mindset and just become an observer.

Craft Constructive Questions

While audience participation can add a lot to a presentation, when done wrong, it can be awkward and alienating for the audience. For instance, singling out an audience member at random with a surprise question will usually catch them off guard, causing them to illicit a short, unhelpful response and disrupt the flow of your presentation.

There are a few ways this can be avoided, and to incorporate your audience in a natural, low-pressure way. First, if you’re going to be asking audience members questions directly, plan carefully and tread lightly. I’ve found that the best way is to give your audience ample time to formulate a response and let them be the ones to volunteer if they want to answer.

In an attempt to avoid putting people on the spot, some presenters will ask the audience a broad question and hope someone volunteers a response, but most people are usually reticent to offer up a response in a cold audience.

A middle ground is to divide the audience up into groups or pairs, have them discuss your  question or topic, and then ask for volunteers to offer their response. This will allow them to formulate a response and grow more comfortable with the audience before being asked to speak.

Formulating Questions

When asking the audience questions, it’s important for the questions benefit your presentation without derailing it. Know the exact response you want, and direct your presentation accordingly. Don’t make it too complex where your audience is stumped, but don’t make it so dumbed down to be mundane.

It’s often difficult to predict how an audience will react until you try the questions out, so test the questions out on friends and colleagues to gauge their effectiveness.

Lastly, be creative. There’s no scientific formula for engaging your audience. Don’t force anything, pay close attention to the energy of the audience, and think outside the box; you’ll do just fine.

Pitch Yourself: The Importance of an Interview Presentation

As we’ve stated before, first impressions are hugely important, especially in the business world. When given the opportunity to give a presentation interview to recruiters or potential employers, always keep in mind that it’s a way to show your capability, personality, and professionalism.

The potential to impress when given the opportunity for an interview presentation cannot be understated. And while you could craft your own presentation and perhaps do an adequate job, this is your chance to knock them off their feet with a professional presentation that will show your interviewers that you’re the real deal.

Many think that SlideGenius and other professional presentation designers are just for corporate clients or entrepreneurs giving investor presentations, but there are an endless amount of scenarios where a presentation specialist can make all the difference.

While we highly recommend recruiting the expertise of a PowerPoint expert to ensure that your competition is no match for the impression you’ll make, there are a few other tips for the interview presentation that you should keep in mind.

Consider Your Audience

This is a good rule of thumb for any presentation, but it’s especially important when making an impression on future employers. Do as much research on who you’re going to be in the room with you before you enter.

-What is their professional background?

-What are their job duties at the company you’re interviewing with? What will be your professional relationship with them?

-What questions can you anticipate being asked by them based on their expertise?

For God’s Sake, Groom Yourself!

There are so many well-qualified candidates that lose job opportunities because of careless grooming, despite how easy this aspect of the interview is. Unless you’re a sixteen-year-old kid applying for the Burger King down the street, poor grooming and appearance in an interview is inexcusable.

Renowned thief of the Declaration of Independence and actor Nicholas Cage
Despite his prowess as an actor, Nicholas Cage is one of the many examples of unscrupulous grooming and unprofessional attire.

If you’re unsure about your ability to present a pristine front, outfit yourself in your interview attire and ask a friend to critique you as brutally honest as they can.

Prove your Leadership and Communication Skills

Recruiters request a presentation interview to test your potential to represent a company in a confident, assured way, and to present yourself in the process. In doing this, you’re expected to do more than merely expound upon your experience and qualifications, you’re expected to do it in in a way that inspires confidence in who you’re interviewing with, and to show that you can be a positive face for the company.

Winston Churchill: Orator of the Century

Widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the 20th century, Winston Churchill inspired Great Britain and the Western world to stand up, and fight against the strongest military empire of the century. You can agree that convincing millions of people to support you in any cause is an almost impossible task. Churchill was very tactful when it came to give convincing speeches. In fact he famously said, “Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip.”

First, and perhaps most importantly, becoming a great speaker is a matter of practice and persistence, not natural talent. Even Churchill himself was not born a great presenter. He actually had a slight stammer and a lisp (that made him sound drunk) when he was young. He spent hours on end crafting his speeches, perfecting every word. Churchill himself said “Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence is the key to unlocking our potential.”

With that, here are four lessons Winston Churchill can teach us about perfecting our speeches and professional powerpoint presentations:

Speak in crisp and direct sentences.

As ugly and inconvenient as what you say may be, be straightforward in what you say and your audience will respect you. Winston says, “If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time – a tremendous whack.”

Churchill’s examples of this:

“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”

“A politician needs the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen.”

Be eloquent and rhythmic in your vocabulary.

By this, I don’t mean stuff big words everywhere just to sound fancy. What I mean is that you should make the simplest form of whatever you’re saying into the most professional way it can be said. Churchill also had a melodious flow to his speeches, keeping the audience on their toes at all points throughout. At any rate, bettering your vocabulary can also be a very helpful activity for bettering your vocational skills. Learning 5 new words a day might be a great way to start…

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat.

Churchill utilizes repetition in almost ever single one of his speeches. He would consistently use phrases or words over and over again in the same breath to highlight a point.

Churchill’s examples of this:

“Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.”

“We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”

Ironical humor.

Churchill was known for his wit and word play. While wit seems like a more “born-with-it” sort of concept, one will surely develop it by knowing a certain concept through and through. Once you master a specific idea or issue, you will have the necessary background to react quickly and wittily to questions or comments you are confronted with. This ultimately comes down to practice; know what you are talking about and you will know what to say at all times.

Churchill’s examples of this:

 “If you have ten thousand regulations you destroy all respect for the law.”

“We have always found the Irish a bit odd. They refuse to be English.”

As one of the most revered leaders and orators in history, Winston Churchill changed the world with both his voice and his actions. Following and epitomizing Churchill in your next professional powerpoint presentation will be a great way to improve yourself as a public speaker and powerpoint expert.

 

Reference:

Winston Churchill Quotes.BrainyQuote.

Study Shows Simplicity is Key When Creating a PowerPoint Presentation

At what point is your PowerPoint taking away from what you have to say, ultimately doing more harm than good to your presentation? German psychologist Chrstof Wecker did a study on oral information retention when using a PowerPoint presentation, and his results were very interesting.

The study’s abstract states:

“The objective of this study was to test whether information presented on slides during presentations is retained at the expense of information presented only orally, and to investigate part of the conditions under which this effect occurs, and how it can be avoided.”

The study found that “regular” slides negatively affected how much of what the presenter said was retained by the test audience. This means the presenter would be better off using no PowerPoint at all if he or she wanted the audience to retain more of what was said during the presentation.

By SlideGenius
An example of a simple, effective PowerPoint slide by SlideGenius.

However, the study found that correctly done, concise slides were by far the best for maximum retention of information, both orally and visually. This is because the two complimented each other without overloading the audience’s ability to take in new information.

We’ve all heard this lesson many times before, but here is scientific evidence that you don’t want to overload your audience with cluttered slides, because the mind naturally prioritizes visual information over auditory information.

Another important lesson to take from this is to keep in mind that your PowerPoint presentation is there for your audience; it’s not your teleprompter. Many people will cram their slides with as much information as possible, and then use them as their talking points. This is detrimental to a presentation for a couple reasons.

 

First, while there isn’t likely to be much information lost since you’ll essentially be repeating everything on your PowerPoint slides, you’ll create a totally impersonal presentation. You’ll take away the need for a human being presenting the information, which obviously has the capacity to be more engaging than words on a page. You’ll also fail to make eye contact while you’re speaking if you’re constantly reading off your PowerPoint, which is sacrificing a great tool for drawing people in while you’re speaking.

boring-powerpoint-presentation-1024x748

While simplicity and conciseness are hugely important when creating a visual aid to accompany you in a presentation, there are several other factors that come into play to guarantee that your presentation packs a punch. Professional PowerPoint designers and presentation specialists are vital in taking all these factors into account when creating your presentation in order to ensure your presentation is both easily retained and enthralling.

3 Things You Must do at the Start of Your Presentation

Think of how the most recent Bond movies start.

They begin off with 8 minutes of Daniel Craig punching, shooting, and shoving his way through building walls, while back flipping onto moving boats, while explosions are going off everywhere, after which he gets a  wink and kiss from some girl who is probably in some Victoria’s Secret cover … and all of this happens before the credits even roll.

Set your corporate presentation alongside to that intro sequence. That’s your competition.  The world has changed into a viral and fast-paced society that needs instant gratification in every aspect of their lives. Audiences no longer hold the patience to listen to you going on and on about boring background or technical information. Your audience will judge you and decide whether you are even worth listening too within those first 8 minutes, probably even before that.

These next 3 steps are the key to maximizing your introduction, and in so doing, captivating your audience:

1)     Establish your credibility. Traditionally speaking, credibility is generated from two independent factors: trust and expertise. If your audience find you trustworthy and reliable they will feel compelled to listen to you, regardless of what you’re saying.  Unlike trustworthiness, expertise tends to be judged more objectively, with credentials, certifications or quality of information. So don’t be afraid to throw you titles and education at your audience. Charisma is the last piece in establishing credibility. If people like you, they will listen. Now, to apply credibility to your corporate presentation or investor presentation you only need a couple of slides. Demonstrate that your company has the right experience and you will put the audience into a constructive frame of mind – seeking to find ways to use what the presenter is offering, rather than seeking to find holes in your arguments.

2)     Empathize. Prospects are usually looking for somebody who understands the challenges they face, and who can offer a solution to these problems. After or during the time frame when you are sharing your credibility, present an outline of the specific issue or problem your work relates to. In doing this, you show your audience that you understand the problem. After drawing them in with your outline, spend your time showing how you can solve these problems the audience have. The key issue here is to make sure that you actually talk to the audience’s challenges; if the audience don’t recognize themselves in your portrayal, then you won’t succeed in displaying empathy.

albert-einstein-quote

3)     Promote Interaction. Try to start your presentation with a question or challenge for the audience. By presenting a well-judged puzzle and asking the audience to solve it, attention levels can quickly be raised. Careful to not do anything too hard or too easy, they are easy ways to make this tactic backfire and disengage the crowd. On a related note, it is most effective to promote interaction both at the beginning and at the end of your presentation. Most “presentation experts” simply walk up, say their “schpeel,” and walk off. Like reading a good story, they give you good content, but then stop. The point of a presentation is to achieve some sort of business related action. Sell, buy, invest, divest; it’s all part of the same root.  What is the point of your presentation if you don’t leave the audience with a call to action? Just because they listened to you doesn’t mean they’ll do anything else. Leave them with a “next step.”

Let’s sum up. Starting your presentation effectively is critical to its success. If done poorly, your introduction can singlehandedly loose your audience for the entire presentation. Know what the point of your presentation is, and act accordingly. Use these 3 tactics to maximize your next PowerPoint presentation.

Work Cited:
http://www.m62.net/presentation-theory/presentation-structure/how-to-start-a-presentation/





Using Images to Control Your Audience

It’s safe to say that most people that went through elementary school have heard the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words.” What most people don’t know is exactly what those thousand words can make people do or think.

Some of the world’s most famous CEO’s are adopting an image-rich style when it comes to their corporate presentations. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, and even Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer all jumped on the bandwagon. If these global business leaders are doing it, it must be effective.

Here’s an overused fact: the brain processes information more effectively when the information is expressed in both pictures and words in place of words alone. The process is called Picture Superiority Effect, and as overused as it may be, most people don’t genuinely understand the value in the statement and consequently don’t act on it.

Each of the aforementioned business leaders have continued to prove that image-rich presentations are powerful forces for helping audiences retain the information being presented. Here is a list of ways they use the Picture Superiority Effect to shape the way their audiences react to their presentations.

Use Images

 

  • to spark some confusion that you will resolve

Show a weird scenario that attracts the eye, but doesn’t fully explain itself. Then go on to explain it yourself.

  • to highlight a point through silliness. 

Laughter is always a great component of keeping your audience in an interested and open-minded state.

  • to tease your audience for your next slide

Always keep your audience guessing what is next. As soon as they think they found some predictability aspect to your sequence, they will zone out and think they already know what you are saying.

  • to visualize the abstract. 

Many business related concepts, more commonly financial ones, are difficult to grasp. Use images to clarify.

  • as a play on words.

Hearing and seeing an explanation of a certain concept will make it much more relatable. 

  • as a rhetorical ploy. 

Metaphors and analogies shown through images.

Gregory Berns said it best, “A person can have the greatest idea in the world— completely different and novel—but if that person can’t convince enough other people, it doesn’t matter.” Using images is a vital component of convincing your audience during you presentation. It really doesn’t matter what you are talking about. Images, like colors, music, and food, are universally understood and valued. Use them to your advantage!

Ill leave you with Jonathan Klein’s AMAZING TED talk about the power of images.

 

References:

Gallo, Carmine. “Jeff Bezos And The End of PowerPoint As We Know It.” Forbes. September 7, 2012.

Pictures in PowerPoint.” Microsoft MVP Award Program Blog. April 23, 2012.

Stenberg, Georg. “Conceptual and Perceptual Factors in the Picture Superiority Effect.” 2006.

Steve Jobs: Creating an Engaging Presentation

Even after his death, Steve Jobs continues to be an idol of the business community constantly receiving praise for his dedication to innovation and excellence. There are an endless number of lessons one can learn from the late Apple guru, but one in particular that we can focus on is how he beautifully mastered the art of presentations. He seemed to give as much care to the impact of his presentations as he did to the product he was showcasing. Below are three lessons we can takeaway from the former CEO of Apple.

Show Passion for What You’re Presenting

In any given video of Steve Jobs talking about Apple or anything he was working on, his passion for it is immediately apparent. His ability to be inspired and immerse himself in any project he took a part in, coupled with his famously less-than-mild temperament, made every one of his presentations an invigorating sight to see.

There’s no replica for genuine passion about what you do, but giving off a positive vibe during your presentation will always work in your favor. Enthusiasm, openness, and a smile will make you and by extension your presentation, more likable by your audience.

Utilize a Simple, yet Dynamic Visual Aid

Jobs created an iconic platform for his product presentations that were always immediately recognizable by most anyone. A large, black stage with an enormous screen, behind a plainly dressed Jobs, who wears a slim microphone attached to his ear.

His visual aid, the PowerPoint presentation on the giant screen behind him, is remarkably simple. Each slide has either a single picture or sentence projected on it. This enables each slide have all the more impact and keeps the audience’s main focus on what Jobs is saying.

Work the Audience: Build and Relieve Suspense

This may seem like an abstract idea, but it’s key when engaging an audience – a great presentation is a performance. You need highs and lows–to build suspense and then release it and Steve Jobs was able to execute this perfectly.

[easy-tweet tweet=”A great presentation is a performance.” user=”SlideGenius” hashtags=”marketing, AppleEvent, Apple” url=”https://www.slidegenius.com/blog/steve-jobs-creating-an-engaging-presentation/” template=”light”]

While it takes a talented dramatist to replicate what Jobs does during these presentations, you can replicate the emotional effect he has on his audience by rehearsing and  also ensuring that you have everything you need.

-Plan your speech with care. Coordinate your talking points with a visual accompaniment. Especially if you’re making a sell, timing and suspense is everything. Identify a seemingly unsolvable problem, use it to build anticipation, then relieve it with your carefully crafted solution.

-Great speakers and presenters don’t just roll out of bed and wow an audience. They work at it tirelessly. Write out all your cues and talking points, then rehearse this until you’ve perfected what you’re going to say. If speaking in public makes you uncomfortable, rehearsing and then showing up prepared can give you the assurance you need.

-Crafting the perfect PowerPoint for a grand slam presentation can take a lot of expertise. Even if you have the Graphic Design and storyboard experience to make a professional-grade presentation, this can take a huge amount of time that you could otherwise use perfecting your talking points. Using professional PowerPoint designers and specialists is imperative for taking a presentation to the next level.

While few of us have the brilliant spark that let Jobs captivate an audience the way he did throughout his life, with some practice, we can learn some of the ways that made him such a inspiring and innovative figure.