12 Tricks to Give a Memorable Presentation
May 04, 2023
Presentations are essential in business – and delivering memorable presentations is an essential element of your business leader skill set.
Your presentation skills will determine your success in business.
Whether you’re pitching an idea, presenting a proposal, or delivering a keynote speech, you want to create a presentation that’s engaging, informative, and memorable. Here are 11 simple tips so you can create a memorable presentation that will capture your audience’s imagination and leave a lasting impression.
12 ways to give a memorable presentation
Know your audience
Before you even think about putting pen to paper or opening your laptop, it’s essential to understand your audience. Who are they? What matters to them? What are their interests and needs? What do they expect from you? It’s only by answering these questions that you can be sure your presentation is relevant and that you’ll make a real connection with your audience. No memorable presentation has ever been given without a thorough understading of the audience.
TOP TIP: Make your audience, not you the centre of attention in your memorable presentation. Make sure everything you say clearly answers the SO WHAT? question that will be in everyone’s head as you speak.
Define your intent
It may sound obvious, but start by asking yourself what you want your audience to think, understand or do in response to your presentation. What exactly do you want to achieve with your presentation? Do you want people to do something? Do you want them to change behaviours? What change do you want to make? Once you’ve identified your key objective, you can then make sure your memorable presentation delivers that objective.
TOP TIP: Write down the intent of your talk on a single post it note. Keep checking what you are saying and challenge yourself whether you are delivering on your intent. And your intent is never ‘to tell people about’. For a memorable presentation your intent will be more specific.
Be clear on your main message
Once you’ve identified your intent or key objective, decide on the main point you want to get across. What’s the overarching message or ‘takeaway’? What’s the one thing you want your audience to remember, even if they forget everything else. That core message should be clear, concise, and easy to summarise in a single sentence.
TOP TIP: Imagine someone being asked ‘What was the presentation all about?” If they answer with your main message then you know you have achieved your objective of a memorable presentation.
Use a clear structure
A well-crafted presentation makes it easy for your audience to follow your narrative. Use a clear structure that includes a compelling introduction, a succinct main section and a powerful close. A useful tip is to divide the body of your presentation into three well-defined sections that support your key message, then set out to support each one with relevant facts, statistics, examples, and stories. And remember, your opening and close are the most important parts of your presentation – work hardest on getting those right.
TOP TIP: Spend more time preparing the start and end of your presentation. The start will set expectations. The end will leave your audience with a distinct feeling. These are the most important parts of a memorable presentation.
Use compelling visuals
Visual aids, including pictures, slides and videos, can help make your presentation more engaging and memorable. But use them sparingly and make sure they’re relevant to your message. Above all, don’t become a slave to PowerPoint – remember, it’s there to support not distract from what you’re saying. Keep your slides simple and visually appealing, with clear headings, a consistent colour scheme and font – and as few bullet-points as possible!
TOP TIP: Creating your visuals should be the very last step when preparing a memorable presentation. Don’t fall into the trap of creating your slides first. This is what causes Death by PowerPoint.
Keep it simple
One of the most common mistakes presenters make is trying to cram too much information and complexity into their presentations. Avoid jargon and overly technical language, which can be confusing and off-putting for your audience, especially if they’re unfamiliar with your business.
Avoid using too many acronyms and technical terms. The best presentations use simple, clear language. Sometimes it helps to imagine you’re a teacher, explaining difficult concepts to a teenager. If your 15-year-old niece or nephew grasps your story, so will everyone else.
TOP TIP: Can you make your presentation simpler? Can you take something out? Can you put some information into an appendix. You’ll be more memorable when you say fewer things and use more stories, examples and analogies. Most presentations are improved by talking material out.
Tell great stories
Stories are powerful because they tap into our emotions and help us relate to the experiences of others. Try to think of personal stories that bring your arguments to life and make them more accessible. When you tell a personal story, you’re giving your audience a glimpse into your world and inviting them to join you on your journey. It’s also when you’re telling stories that they’re most attentive. Learn how to tell great stories by visiting themoth.org.
TOP TIP: Storytelling in one of the greatest presentation skills. If you have not mastered the art of telling powerful stories, then now is the time to start.
Engage your audience
Creating an emotional connection with your audience can often make the difference between a memorable presentation and a flop. Try asking questions, soliciting feedback and encouraging participation. Maybe use polls, quizzes or games to get them involved. Encourage questions throughout your presentation. Remember, if you connect well with your audience, they’re much more likely to remember and act upon what you’ve said.
TOP TIP: One of the simplest ways of engaging your audience and creating a memorable presentation is to use the words YOU, WE and OUR. It is hard to use any of these words too much.
Use metaphor and imagery
Turning dull information into compelling concepts is one of the real arts of creating memorable presentations. The more mundane your subject, the more you need to use images and metaphor. For example: Have sales gone up or have they soared? Is this a robust deal or is it a bulletproof deal that will protect us all. Are you pleased with your results or are you dancing all the way home?
TOP TIP: By using more imagery, metaphor and analogies, you will unlock the power of language and free your talk from an ordinary communication into a memorable presentation.
If you can make your audience smile or laugh, it will help break down barriers and make your message more memorable. Don’t try telling a string of jokes – professional comedians are professionals for a reason. And don’t try too hard: just draw on your experience, tell some amusing stories from your own life, or humorous anecdotes from someone else’s – provided they’re relevant to your audience and reinforce your message.
TOP TIP: The best presenters use a lot of humour. Even if you are not good at typical humour, make sure you have a big smile on your face when preparing your memorable presentation. If you enjoy what you prepare, there is a greater chance that your audience will also enjoy it.
Practise, practise, practise
The most accomplished presenters practise constantly. As a rule of thumb, you should always practise your presentation at least three times, perhaps in front of a mirror, or even better in front of colleagues so that they can give you useful feedback. Focus on making sure everything flows smoothly, tighten up your timing, practise delivering key points powerfully, edit out difficult-to-pronounce words and phrases, rehearse when and where you’ll use gestures. Practice is key to delivering a confident and engaging presentation and will help you know your material inside and out.
TOP TIP: Practise and Rehearsal are different. A rehearsal suggests the words are perfect and you are just working on performance. But to create a memorable presentation you want to Practise. That means keep changing and improving, over and over, until it can’t get any better.
End with a clear call-to-action
Finally, try to end your presentation with a clear call-to-action that inspires your audience to do something concrete. Provide clear instructions on what you want them to do next. Your call-to-action should evolve naturally from your main takeaway message.
TOP TIP: The end is the second most important part of your talk. You are more likely to leave a lasting memorable impression with a strong end. One trick the best presenters use is to include an appeal to the heart at the very end of their talk. For example: “And with these changes we can all be proud of the great work we have delivered, and the great work we are going to deliver this year.”
How to give a memorable presetation – next steps
To create a memorable presentation you need to understand your audience, a well-defined objective, a clear and concise message, engaging visuals and storytelling, a clear call-to-action – and above all, practice. By following these tips, you can create a presentation that captures your audience’s imagination. leaves a lasting impression and achieves your desired outcome.
If you want to shortcut the learning curve to creating a memorable presentation, then get in touch. We’d be delighted to show you the tricks of the trade in one of our bespoke in-house presentation skills training courses.
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