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July 8, 2021

Presentation Techniques Smart Entrepreneurs Use

Presentation techniques are strategies every entrepreneur should know and use. Using them helps you engage your audience. They should be an integral part of how to connect with your audience when you are presenting.

Determining which technique to use is dependent on the format. Some techniques are better suited for video or audio. Others are more universal and will work in most situations.

In a previous post about presentation styles, I briefly mentioned four presentation techniques. I included them because they complement those styles. These techniques can be used in most presentation environments. Because they are flexible, I wanted to expand on what they are and some ways you can use them.

Visual Elements to Support Your Message

With each passing year, data reports indicate audiences’ preferences for visual material. When presenting content, using visuals is a key presentation technique. The visual component can encompass different things. This could be a video, a slide deck, image carousel, or infographic.

For slide decks to be more visual you want to use less text. Yes, that means moving away from bullet points. Instead, use images, graphs, or animation to support your main points. A common presentation technique is to use a background image and overlay text.

presentation techniques viaual example

Example of a visual slide using a background image with minimal text. 

While video by its very nature is visual, you want to be more than a talking head. Use text overlay at key points of the video to reinforce your message. This presentation technique provides visual interest.

An overlay will provide movement. Some studies indicate there should be movement every 3-5 seconds. Having edited video for over 10 years, that can be really time consuming.

You can use facial expressions and hand gestures to incorporate movement. Just don’t go overboard. Over exaggeration will become too distracting. Also, a mismatched visual will make you look out of touch or even insensitive.

Storytelling to Connect at a Deeper Level

As a presentation technique, storytelling is one of the most powerful you can use. This is a foundational element of being human. A great story, tugs at our emotions and sticks will us. It creates an almost instant connection with your audience.

The good part is storytelling works well in both audio and visual environments. When using this strategy, don’t over complicate it. Remember, you aren’t writing a novel. Stories can be used in a variety of ways.

If you aren’t sure how to incorporate stories as a presentation technique, think about examples and experiences you can draw upon.

  • Do you have a client whose life has been changed dramatically because of your service or product? This is often referred to as a case study.
  • What about your own story? Perhaps it is a compelling journey where you overcame an obstacle.

For more information about the effects of storytelling, check out research done by Paul J. Zak. His studies showed audience members remembered a core message better when linked with a story.

Energy Level to Keep Your Audience Interested

Have you ever watched a video or live presentation and it felt flat? This happens when a presenter’s energy level is too low. No matter how good your content, if your energy level is off, people won’t stick around to hear about it.

There is a curious phenomenon that occurs when presenting in the digital environment. A person’s normal energy level often comes across as dull or uninteresting.

The best presentation technique to combat this is to increase your energy level when recording. When I first started doing this it felt weird. In my mind’s eye, I was over the top and overly exaggerated. When I watched the video, I looked and sounded normal. The good news is that the more you do it the easier it becomes.

For live, in-person events, energy is also important. However, you want to adjust your energy level to the size of the room. Similar to theatre performances, the larger the room the more expressive you need to be.

Audience Interaction for a Compelling Experience

Audience interaction and engagement is a vital component when presenting content. In the digital environment, having audience interaction and engagement is crucial.

When presenting, either on video or stage, none of us plan to be a bland or static talking head. This important presentation technique will help you avoid being boring and a key method for keeping your audience listening and watching..

There are several ways to use audience interaction to encourage engagement. It is really dependent on how you are presenting: video, live streaming, or in-person. The amount of time you have is also a factor. The more time you have the more types of interactions you can use.

For a live virtual session, the interaction can be something simple. For instance, encouraging comments and questions in the chat feature. Grouping individuals into breakout rooms is another example. Another effective tool is a virtual bulletin board or online polling. Audiences want to share so give them the opportunity.

For a posted video, ask questions that throughout encourage some type of action. The best question format is a specific open-ended question. For instance, if you are discussing digital marketing, asking ‘What are your thoughts on digital marketing?’ is too vague. A better question is ‘What is your biggest struggle when it comes to digital marketing?’. And always ask for comments.

For in-person sessions, this can include a variety of hands-on activities. It can be simple like raising hands as an informal poll. Another effective technique, have audience members share with the person sitting next to them. For a workshop setting, a workbook or handouts to fill out as you present is another great strategy.

Wrap Up

Being aware of different presentation techniques is important for any entrepreneur. Since we present in a variety of ways, knowing what technique works well is important. The four techniques in this post can be used in most settings. They are all intended to help you connect and engage with your audience.

Using visual elements help you convey your message. However, don’t rely on only text use images and animation to create variety. Telling a compelling story will establish a deeper connection with your audience. Don’t over complicate it. Use your own life experiences or that of customers you’ve helped. Your energy level needs to match the room. With video you need to exude more energy to avoid appearing flat. Lastly, always have the audience interact in some way. This can be a simple poll or more in-depth by answering of targeted open-ended question.

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts and comments. In the comments section below answer the following question. What presentation techniques do you use and find effective in engaging your audience?

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Jennifer Sharkey is known as the Virtual Presentation Specialist. Being passionate about seeing people shine and be heard, she leans into her 20+ years of public speaking experience and uses what she has learned from presenting, both in-person and virtually, to small groups all the way up to 5000 people. Jennifer draws from her experience as an associate professor, academic librarian, and coach to help holistic coaches master virtual presentations to grow their business. Her unique immersive program provides practical strategies and methods to build confidence, engage audiences, and generate authenticity and authority.

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