Are Audiences Missing Crucial Information? Here’s How To Capture and Hold Attention 

Posted on: May 7, 2024

Do you hold attention?

After producing thousands of annual meetings and conferences, we know where and how presentations might cause audiences to miss crucial information. 

Granted, communicating important and sometimes complex information isn’t easy. It’s even harder when you’re given twenty, thirty, or even fewer minutes for a presentation. 

But, since it’s important to deliver presentations as quickly and effectively as possible, the following fixes will help audiences come away with the information you intended. 

Present to the entire audience

Who’s the audience? One common presentation faux pas is thinking the audience is a monolith. 

Within a speaker’s particular specific niche it’s easier to present to a like-minded audience. They speak the language of your area of expertise. So, you’ll present in the terminology you and they are accustomed to.

Now, that works fine IF you are presenting exclusively to peers. However, that is not the case at big global annual meetings. 

So, instead of highly technical and insider terminology, concentrate on clear and simple language to help hold attention. If you need to define technical terms, do it. A diverse audience comprised from different fields and non-experts will appreciate being able follow the content.

More visual variety

Too many numbers. Too many rows. Little visual variety. 

When combined, audiences can’t help but look away from a monotonous presentation if visuals are only filled with text and data. 

Presentations don’t have to be dry lectures. Simple, clear visuals paired with concise language will keep your audience engaged.

Mix things up. Strategically weave in charts, graphs, images, and even videos to break up the text and highlight key points. Fewer words and relevant graphics can drive home important points. 

And don’t just deliver data. Bring in your experiences with stories and anecdotes.

Keep the point in mind

With so much information and so little time, presenters can get mired down in the minutia of their material. At the end, too many presenters don’t communicate the significance and broader implications of the material presented. 

Highlight the effects of your work and clearly communicate why what you presented matters, and how it contributes to the broader mission of the organization and its community.

Rehearse, always

Few natural presenters walk among us. And even they won’t forgo practicing their presentations. 

But many non-professional presenters should rehearse. Lack of preparation leads to disorganization, technical glitches, and time management issues. 

So, rehearse. Then rehearse some more. This will ensure smooth delivery, identify potential issues, allowing you to stick to the time you have behind the lectern.

By addressing these potential pitfalls, you can improve the overall effectiveness of your presentations, making the content more accessible, engaging, and valuable for everyone in the audience.

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