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Presenting to Millennials: What Makes Them Different from Other Generations?

Millennials are born between 1981 to 1996. They’re the first generation to grow up with an abundance of mobile devices and the world’s information.

Why should businesses pay attention to them? Well, they make up the largest part of the American workforce, which means they’re a force to reckon with when it comes to purchasing power.

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The challenge with presenting to them, however, is keeping them interested in what you say, reaching the point where they are willing to interact with you and your brand, especially if you’re going to show them a PowerPoint presentation.

So, how should you do it?

Be Straightforward

No matter who your audience is, you should never beat around the bush. This goes especially important when you’re presenting in front millennials.

In a study conducted by Microsoft Corp. in 2015, researchers found out that people generally lose concentration after eight seconds, whereas in the year 2000, the average was 12 seconds.

This means that people have shorter attention spans compared to that of a goldfish, which has a nine-second attention span.

So, instead of wasting your audience’s time, make sure to focus immediately on the whys and the hows of your presentation:

  • Why does it matter?
  • How will it make a difference?
  • How does it make an impact?

Be Authentic

If you’re on social media, then you’ll know that this generation is all about sharing everything on the Internet—photos, videos, ramblings, and insight included. This means that they expect a certain level of vulnerability and authenticity, so they will surely catch you if you’re stiff and might misconstrue this as insincerity.

Optimize Your Presentation

This generation was the first to grow up with cellphones. Today, they basically live on them, so why not make your PowerPoints available there as well? This allows them to view your slides and respond in real-time. That, or you could make them available online and for download after the presentation.

Impress the Audience with Visuals

Are you a startup looking for investors? If you’re planning on showing your audience what they need to know using a 20-page business plan—don’t bother. Who has time to read through all that?

If you want your audience’s attention and retain it throughout the presentation, then make sure to use impactful visuals to your advantage.

Millennials grew up alongside the rise of technology, meaning they are averse to low-quality, low-tech visuals. Ditch clip arts and walls of texts and instead, focus on using compelling graphics that accurately represent what you’re saying.

It’s important to know how millennials think and thrive in today’s digital world because not only are they becoming important assets in the workplace, but they’re next in line to run it. So, instead of doing it the old-fashioned way—handing out 20-page reports and using clip art as well as WordArt—make sure that you maximize the use of custom pitch decks.

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References:

Main, Douglas. “Who Are the Millennials?” Live Science. September 8, 2017. www.livescience.com/38061-millennials-generation-y.html

McSpadden, Kevin. “You Now Have a Shorter Attention Span Than a Goldfish.” Time. May 14, 2015. time.com/3858309/attention-spans-goldfish/

Patel, Deep. “How to Reach and Engage Millennial Audiences.” Forbes. July 4, 2017. www.forbes.com/sites/deeppatel/2017/07/04/how-to-reach-and-engage-millennial-audiences/#2b1368fa4789

All Ears: How Listening Helps Assess Audience Response

As a presenter, your main goal is to engage your audience.

Just because the audience is looking at you, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re listening. They might just be hearing what you’re saying, but not digesting any of the information.

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Everybody hears, but not all of them may listen. You may be asking yourself, “What’s the difference? Both actions refer to the brain registering sound anyway.”

These two have different meanings—hearing is an effortless, passive occurrence while listening is a conscious choice, which demands your concentration and attention.

Before you hire a PowerPoint design agency to make your presentation, make sure you outline it according to the various listening styles and strategies.

Relationship Listening

Empathy, presence, and support are essential when it comes to this form of listening, as its ultimate goal is to develop a strong connection with your audience.

During presentations, this comes in the form of asking and taking questions— this type of engagement builds rapport. Eventually, this leads to a conversation with the audience where insights are shared.

Appreciative Listening

Sales pitches sell a product or service aimed to solve a problem. What better way to introduce or talk about these through telling a story about a similar experience?

When you incorporate storytelling into your presentation methods, you don’t necessarily ask for constructive criticism or feedback, but you are enforcing an area of appreciative listening as you engage your audience.

Critical Listening

Have you ever watched a debate? If you have, then you’d notice that the two opposing panels have an artillery of information backed by research, ready to rebut every point that the other brings to the table.

While you aren’t part of the debate itself, you are engaging in critical listening, which involves analyzing content and identifying the debaters’ objectives.

During your presentation, your audience will seek to weigh the pros and cons of your argument, especially when you’re trying to persuade them or change their beliefs.

Discriminative Listening

The objective of this listening technique is to focus on the sounds, which makes it the foundation of the other four. Here, the listener is encouraged to be more sensitive to the speaker’s tone, pitch, paralanguage, and speech rate.

This goes hand-in-hand with Comprehensive Listening, which is one of the primary methods of learning. It demands you to concentrate on the source and the information it gives.

The indicator of discriminative listening goes beyond words. At the beginning of your presentation, your audience will assess your body language, facial expressions, and even the outfit you chose to wear that day.

Apart from the topic itself, the way you deliver it is everything in the presentation space.

Just because you’re the speaker, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your part as a listener—you still have to, as this helps you in determining which information should be included in your commercial pitch deck.

Everyone wants to be heard and understood, this is especially true for presenters who rigorously prepare for their sales pitches and business presentations. Acknowledgement from the audience during presentations means that you have successfully built rapport and established a relationship with them.

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References:

Benna, Steven. “5 Nonverbal Communication Cues All Great Speakers Have Mastered.” Business Insider. July 23, 2015. www.businessinsider.com/nonverbal-communication-public-speaking-2015-7

Conklin, Emily. “7 Storytelling Structures to Improve Your Presentations.” Entrepreneur. December 17, 2017. www.entrepreneur.com/article/305993

Hellesvig-Gaskell, Karen. “The Difference Between Hearing & Listening Skills.” Livestrong. June 13, 2017. www.livestrong.com/article/83661-difference-between-hearing-listening/