Tag Archives: audience engagement

Presentation Styles: Old School vs. New School

21 Jun

It’s an age-old argument.  Whether it’s music, fashion or lifestyle, people are constantly debating the pros and cons of old vs. new.  Do fundamentals outweigh breakthroughs?  Is a fresh approach more effective than maintaining tradition?

These questions are often very difficult to answer.  However, they are worth exploring.

At Big Fish, we frequently ponder this issue when it comes to giving and designing presentations.  There are many different approaches to presenting, all of which can be very effective when executed properly.

For example, when presenting to a small audience it can be very beneficial to the speaker to go more old school.  Talk to your audience as if they are actually people.  A tech-show to 5-10 people feels impersonal and can seem like overkill.  Forget the fancy motion graphics and charts if you are covering internal information.  Flashy doesn’t impress everyone, especially if they are your co-workers.

On the other hand, if you’re presenting to a larger crowd, technology can play to your strengths.  Since you can’t fully engage everyone in such a massive group, using a digital setup is great for keeping your audience on their toes and entertained.

What about design?

A simplistic design (old school) is nice in almost every single situation.  Our job is to simplify content and break it down so that it is easily digestible for your audience.  A blur of color, sound and information loses retention with your audience.  Make sure to include all of the information, whether on the slide or in your own words, but don’t overload them.

A new school approach to design is to be loud and attention-grabbing.  This approach is effective if the tone of the content is in sync with your design.  For example, if you are presenting about next quarter’s projections, you probably shouldn’t use funky fonts and grainy textures.  You should keep it elegant and clean, just like the information.  However, if you are giving a presentation about a rock band, the flavor of the design should be that of the style – spunky, fun and entertaining.

There are always exceptions to these insights.  Don’t be afraid to try something new or out of the ordinary.  The only thing you have to remember is your target audience.  What would they respond to the best?  What are they looking for? Craft your presentation to their perspectives and then WOW them with your mad presentation skills!

Which style do you think is most effective at which times?  What is your favorite style?

Let us know by commenting below or on our Facebook page or by tweeting us! Also, check out our YouTube page and subscribe for our latest and greatest videos and projects!

Advertisements

Spark the Conversation!: Audience Engagement in Presentations

20 Apr

 

Anyone can stand up and speak to an audience.

Even if you’re deathly afraid of public speaking, you can squeak out a few words on stage.

However, rarely do you come across a person who speaks TO the audience and not AT them.

You may be thinking, “Well yeah, but I’m the exception.  I’m a fantastic presenter!”

I don’t want to flatten your ego, but there’s always room to learn, my friends.

The average presenter is comfortable on stage.  He or she is very well spoken, even charming in their delivery.  They make you laugh, learn and think.

All of this is great, but in order to take your presentations to the next level, it’s imperative that you reach out and personally engage with your audience.  They need to know that you care about them, that you are tailoring your message and speaking directly to their hearts and minds.  We’re all people, here! (Unless you’re speaking to a group of animals or talking to yourself…)

This idea of audience engagement is often overlooked.  The audience is usually unaware of its absence.  The presenter feels confident enough that he or she disregards or forgets it.  Like I said, the majority of presentations you will see or have seen do not involve the conversation, the engagement.

But do you really want to just be average?

No! Your audience deserves to be a part of the presentation, to be involved in the experience.

If you don’t believe in this stuff, look at it this way: If you simply regurgitate your slides or relay some tid bits of information, your audience might remember it.  That funny joke you said might be repeated at the water cooler.  BUT, if you involve them, if you ask them questions and listen to answers, they will absolutely remember the way you made them feel.  They felt important, and they felt your message resonate with them because they were a part of the explanation.

Feelings trump logic any day of the week.  Look it up!

So, how do you do it, this conversation thing?

Well, it’s really quite simple.  Have a conversation!  Be open to questions or comments.  Feedback is your best friend when engaging your audience.  Pose questions.  Get answers. Get the audience moving and smiling.  Keep the blood flowing!

Depending on the size of the audience, you may be limited to certain activities, but nonetheless it is still important to maintain the audience engagement whether speaking to a crowd of 5 or 5,000.  An audience is an audience, and they still need to be a part of the conversation despite their size.  You can still ask questions, and even get answers, when presenting to a large crowd.

So, in your next presentation, remember to engage your audience.  Remember to be different, to not simply sell an idea, but to create cohesiveness between a concept and a person.  Bridge the gap between talking and sharing.

Spark the conversation!