The chronic bombardment of media and entertainment has transformed us into an impatient culture. The entertainment industry continues to churn out new, innovative ways to engross our minds and hearts, and provide us with various avenues of escape.
Audiences have become accustomed to quick action, rapid scene changes, and soundtracks that make the heart race. These advances in entertainment have set high expectations for visual and visceral stimulation, and have undermined our ability to sit attentively for an hour while a speaker drones on. Most squirm within ten minutes and wish they had a remote control to flip to something more interesting.
Changing up delivery methods from traditional slide read-along to less conventional means keeps the audience interested and creates an element of surprise. Use alternate media, multiple presenters, and interaction to keep your talk alive, but be aware that these mode changes need to be carefully planned. Several can and should occur within an hour.
The key to getting and holding attention is having something new happen continually. This creates a sense that something is always “going on.” Changing delivery modes can include physical movement on the stage. People feel compelled to watch visual events carefully because of our natural fight or flight instinct. Changes in media, alternating presenters, or even something as simple as a dramatic gesture, creates variety for the audience and holds their interest.
Overuse of presentation slides diminishes the power of human connection.
Because genuine human connection is rare, you should capitalize on moments when you’re presenting in person. An audience will deem a presentation a success if they feel they interacted with you. Lowering your dependency on slides helps facilitate this sense of connectedness.
Varying the delivery method between traditional and less traditional methods creates contrast. To the right is a list of delivery methods that contrast. You can see how delivering using non-traditional methods will make the presentation more interesting.