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Crafting Content: How to Conduct Presentation Research

An effective presentation needs appealing content backed up by facts and plenty of investigation.

But how exactly does a person approach researching slide content?

Hoarding random data is obviously detrimental to your presentation research. You have to learn to filter the information you collect.

Turning on your internal data filter is a tough choice in itself, but here are a few tips on narrowing research to your advantage:

Ask Questions

First, figure out what you want your speech to focus on and narrow down your material. This is different from having a general idea for your presentation. But it’s good to base your questions on this rough draft. Thinking of questions you want your research to answer will define the structure your work will take on.

Start with the basic questions: Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How. If affected by mental block, use the audience’s characteristics as a springboard for research. This allows you to engage people during your speech with relevant information.

Asking questions about your intended listeners’ preferences clues you on how to approach your presentation.

Use Social Media to Your Advantage

The increasing rate of modern technological advancement and social media connectivity should free you of traditional research methods. You can extract statistics from outlets other than published surveys and journals. According to brand manager Anny Smarty, browsing social media trends through hashtags and online keywords can help gauge the current popularity of a subject.

You can cite these sources if you’re in need of fresh material. The audience will appreciate the effort to put in sources that are relevant to their immediate lives. Looking up content connected to yours also widens your scope.

Online material relevant to the subject makes you sound timely. But at the same time, this could keep you grounded on your topic. If you plan on going off tangent in your speech, related issues are always safe territory to touch on.

Check Your References

Don’t forget to double-check your sources. Look for more references that support your primary research material. Just make sure they all remain directly relevant to your presentation’s overall flow.

Don’t forget to check if they’re just as credible as the initial source.

Otherwise, you’ll lose a bit of your own credibility as well. These secondary sources don’t have to be directly included in your slide deck, or even in your speech. You only need them to assure you that your research is supported by other qualified opinions.

While overloading with too much material is bad, thorough research is necessary for creating quality content.

Research is the backbone of your content. Choosing your sources wisely will determine what kind of output you produce. Always take the time to dig through source materials to produce quality work.

Ask questions, use social media to your advantage, and verify your sources through others’ research. If you need help deciding which data to include and keep outside your visual presentation, you can consult with our PowerPoint experts today!

The Power of Music in Presentation Delivery

If your presentation delivery is feeling lackluster, there’s one solution you can try–listen to the 70’s rock anthem, ‘We Will Rock You’.

 

They say music is the universal language. It has such a transcendent quality that it’s hard to imagine life without it. Songs can leave an emotional impact on us. And there’s no rhyme or reason to it, either. Even with the absence of lyrics, tunes have the ability to make us feel a myriad of emotions: melancholy, nostalgia, happiness, and even the unwitting urge to dance.

Just imagine how a period drama would look without the swelling of violins in the background. There’s simply no denying the influence that music has on our mood and emotions.

Apparently, this influence can also decide the outcome of your presentation delivery. According to a recent study, there are certain types of music that can make us feel powerful and confident. Not only that, but these tunes can also shape how we think and behave.

The research, led by Dr. Dennis Hsu, found that “music can evoke a sense of power and produce power-related cognition and behavior“. So if you’re feeling wary about giving a presentation, science offers that the best solution may be a song.

Choosing your power song

Of course, not every song can leave you feeling like a presentation superhero. To feel pumped for your presentation delivery, you need to listen to a song with a heavy bass beat. In their research, Dr. Hsu and his team observed how respondents reacted to 3 “high-power” songs:

These songs all have a distinctive heavy bass line that makes listeners feel dominant and powerful. Apparently, when we hear components in music that “express a sense of power”, we are able to “mimic those feelings internally.” Further studies even found that heavy bass music leads to listeners feeling more determined to accomplish a task. Among these tasks is the presentation you’re about to deliver.

Queen’s lyrics certainly offer the push you need for a successful presentation delivery. We all want to deliver a presentation that “rocks” the audience off their seats. But without its repetitive and heavy beat, it probably won’t work as well. As the researchers put it, “powerful people are more likely to speak with a deep, bass voice, and a bass voice is often associated with higher perceived power.”

Shaking off your nerves

There are plenty of cures for presentation nerves. We’ve even discussed some of them in the past. Listening to a high-power rock anthem is another fun technique you can try. If after all the breathing exercises you still can’t calm down, why don’t you try to pump yourself up instead?

Blogger and Forbes contributor Nick Morgan suggests quick tips that might help your presentation delivery. Aside from listening to heavy bass music, it might also help if you try to get yourself excited. Your adrenaline is responsible for all the physical symptoms associated with nervousness, like breathlessness and sweaty palms. With some power music, you can turn your feelings of dread to feelings of anticipation and determination.

But even if you’re not feeling nervous, listening to high-power music can still do a lot for your presentation delivery. The more powerful you feel during a presentation, the better you can relay a thought-provoking and memorable message.

 

References

Hsu, Dennis Y., et. al. “The Music of Power Perceptual and Behavioral Consequences of Powerful Music.” Social Psychological & Personality Science, August 5, 2014. Accessed September 4, 2014.
Morgan, Nick. “Three Secrets To Delivering A Powerful Speech.” Forbes. September 2, 2014. Accessed September 4, 2014.

 

Featured Image: kris krüg via Flickr