In trying to perfect their speech, people apply what seem to be tried and tested methods. However, these methods can sometimes do more harm than good. One size doesn’t always fit all, and with changing times, conventional knowledge is also bound for an update.
Not even experts agree on the shoulds and shouldn’ts of public speaking and slide design. But we’ve decided to compile their common observations and debunk a few presentation myths.
On Repeating Your Points
One of the most discredited old adages is, “Tell ‘em what you’re going to say, say it, and then tell ‘em what you said.” However, a modern audience relates better to a message if it’s introduced early on, with a powerful introduction. On top of people’s shortened attention span, nobody likes being hammered with the same idea over and over again.
People’s attentions are at their peak during the first and last parts of a speech, so repeating a key point somewhere in the middle won’t make as much of an impact. State your intentions once in the beginning, and reiterate it only towards your conclusion.
PowerPoint: To Use or Not to Use?
There are already enough myths about how to use PowerPoint. Before even crafting their slide deck, presenters mull over the decision of whether or not to use PowerPoint at all. There are those who argue that having a PowerPoint distracts the audience from giving the speaker their full attention. But studies show that a visual approach increases communication effectiveness and speaker confidence.
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This makes PowerPoint important in helping both speakers and their listeners keep track of your train of thought. If you don’t have enough time to devote on your visuals, consult with PowerPoint design service professionals. This will boost your chances of creating an impact.
Content vs. Delivery
One of the more difficult decisions is choosing between form and content. Depending on who you subscribe to, a flashy performance is enough to count as a good presentation. People often believe that because there is public speaking involved, all you have to focus on is how well you can entertain your audience. On the other end of the spectrum, there are others who side with the idea that what you say is all that matters.
In some respect, both ideas are misguided. A good presentation is defined by a balance between both content and delivery.
While relying on delivery defeats the purpose of having a refined message, depending on your content without thinking about how to deliver it will only bore your audience. Allot time to each aspect of your speech. Organize your content well, but also think about how you can deliver it to respond to your audience’s interests.
There are many ways to execute a presentation. There is no one set way to do it, but people often fall into the trap of assuming a formula to a good performance. Debunking some of these myths is actually one step to crafting better output.
Impress your audience without relying too much on outdated formulas. Reiterate your points as many times as needed without being too repetitive. Use PowerPoint properly, and treat it as a helpful ally, not as an adversary to resist. Finally, pay attention to both form and content and keep a reasonable balance of both.
Leave those long-standing presentation myths behind and embrace creativity and innovation.
Watson, Leon. “Humans Have Shorter Attention Span than Goldfish, Thanks to Smartphones.” The Telegraph. Accessed October 5, 2015. www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/11607315/Humans-have-shorter-attention-span-than-goldfish-thanks-to-smartphones.html
“Visual Aids.” University of Alabama. Accessed October 5, 2015. www.uab.edu/uasomume/fd2/visuals/page2.htm
Featured Image: “Mosaico Trabajos Hércules” by Luis García on flickr.com