You’ve likely heard it said that opening your talk with a startling statistic helps you grab people’s attention. But what exactly does that technique look and sound like?
In this post, you’ll see 3 clear examples on video, and I’ll discuss key takeaways from each. So you’ll come away with solid tips you can use in your own talks.
Ultimately, I hope these examples inspire you to use some startling statistics yourself.
Here’s what you’ll find in this post – you can click any of these links to skip ahead:
Think back: How many of the webinars you’ve attended were worth your time?
Sadly, I find they’re often time- wasters, and I’m sure many people agree. (If you have a strong opinion either way, please say so.)
So, to stand out from your competition, here are 9 tips to help you rock at webinars! (Each tip’s marked as being easy, medium, or hard, so you can choose the ones that suit your current skills.)
Do you think you’d have bothered reading this post if I’d called it this instead:
“Audience engagement and contemporary presentation materials”
This post’s title deliberately uses 4 “keys” to engage you (in just the first 9 words). For a moment, look at the post’s title again. Can you guess what the 4 keys might be? (You probably guessed that their initials make up the acronym PACE.) Well, read on to see how many of the keys you spotted!
(And, for a very pleasant change from so many posts about presenting, this post has nothing to do with bullet points – despite the bullets in the photo above!)
If you use Articulate Storyline, you may well have used photographic characters, which let you insert a headshot or other cut-out photo of a person:
Even if you use PowerPoint, you might’ve inserted a very similar portrait photo with no background, as they’re available from many suppliers (like Elearning Art, Elearning Brothers, and Articulate Global itself).
This 2½-minute video shows you a quick, built-in way to give a photo like that a realistic background, so it looks like it was taken in an office.
Ever had to give your presentation in a much shorter timeslot than you’d planned? You know – like when one or more of the speakers before you at a conference or workshop runs over time, and the organisers want to start getting things back on track.
Recently, Rob Beisenbach wrote a great post about that, which inspired me to tell you about a rarely-used PowerPoint feature that can help you out in situations like that.
I owe you and other readers here a huge…
Thank you for your part in taking this blog to over 200,000 page views, which happened just now.
When I started Remote Possibilities in November 2011, I never dreamed it’d clock up that many views over time. It’s also amazing to me that I’ve been blogging for 3½ years now.
After all, over those same years, it’s sobering to realise how many great public-speaking blogs have ground to a halt, like these 10:
If you’re like me, you won’t believe that anyone can be a better public speaker instantly. It takes repeated practice – often for years!
At least, I used to think that. But then I read a short post by Jon Acuff, and I saw that it is possible – in one sense – to be instantly better at speaking.
The instant that Jon’s talking about is the moment when you say your opening line. As he notes in this pithy quote:
“The beginning seals the deal
or ruins everything”
In a recent post, I suggested changes you might make to this “before” slide, to make it look more professional:
That slide ended up looking like one of these “after” options:
But in that recent post, I didn’t show you how to make those changes. So that’s where this post comes in – the steps are in this 3-minute video:
Do you use a slide that introduces you as a speaker? (That is, with your name, contact details such as your company logo or Twitter handle, and often your photo on it.)
There are certainly good reasons to use that sort of slide:
- When you’re presenting online, if people can’t see you, having a slide with your photo on it helps people engage with you and your message.
- Even in a big in-person venue (with no video feed showing your face), putting your photo on a slide not only helps people engage, it also helps them approach you after you’ve left the stage.
I’m betting that if you do use that sort of slide, it looks a bit like the typical example below. (If it looks quite different, I’d love to hear from you in the comment box below or via @RemotePoss on Twitter.)
If your speaker slide does look like that, this post and a later one will help you make it look far better:
- In this post, you’ll see the changes that could make your slide look much more professionally designed, so you leave the best impression on your audience.
- In a later post, you’ll find video tips that step you through making those improvements in PowerPoint.
You might be thinking:
“What’s so awful about that slide?”
And if you are, you’re right – it’s not so bad. Yet it could be a lot better.
Let me show you what I mean, and then you be the judge. (Or, try out some of the tips in this post, and then let your audiences’ feedback be the judge!)
You’ll find the following topics covered in this post:
No doubt you’ve heard a lot about using eye contact to engage people when you present. It’s certainly one of the best ways to keep people’s attention, and to connect with them.
But do you manage to keep true eye contact for about 5 seconds or more? (By “true” eye contact, I mean with just one person at a time!) Only with such a gaze do you give enough time for a meaningful connection with that person.
If you look at them more briefly, they (and the rest of your audience) will likely feel that your eyes are flitting around the room. That’s because there’s not enough time for you to share a complete thought with the person you’re looking at.
Share a complete thought with the person you’re looking at
So check out this neat 3-minute video by presentation coach Jim Endicott (at the 2012 Presentation Summit). In the video, you’ll see a simple, natural technique for lengthening your eye contact.