A client of mine came to me after being blacklisted for giving one of the most boring PowerPoint presentations in history. True story. Ok, maybe not blacklisted but he certainly wasn’t going to get the contract or be called back any time soon. And, that’s just as close to the real thing.
The problem is most of us – amazed that kindergarteners are now learning how to computer code! – never really learned how to use PowerPoint as a tool instead of an echo. Today, most business leaders will use their presentation slides as a read-along instead of a visual enhancement.
Repeat after me: PowerPoint is solely a visual tool meant to enhance presentations.
A common illusion most of us have is that we can actually multitask. The minute you realize that multitasking is just a fancy work for distracted, the sooner you can get back to being focused and on point. When you are asking participants to multitask and read your PowerPoint while they are also listening to you, guess what happens? They stop listening. And, I know you don’t want that.
Instead, I challenge you to limit each slide to 2 words (if you must use words) or simply keep it visual. It’s true that a visual is an incredible tool that can really serve to highlight certain key points during a presentation. This is certainly true for statistics and facts, which often pop off the page with the right visual support.
Below you can see the cone of learning. It’s a learning tool that was developed by Edgar Dale in the mid 1950s to demonstrate how much people remember based on how they encounter information. You will see that going from “hearing words” where most people only retain 10% of information jumps to 30% when a visual is introduced. That means that if you are using PowerPoint as a visual tool that you are increasing your chances of engaging your audience by 300%.
But here is my challenge to you: if you look at the top of the pyramid you will see that “doing a dramatic presentation” or “stimulating the real experience” has participants remembering a whopping 90% of information shared! That is a HUGE jump from 30%. So how do you do this?
Creating interactive presentations is one of my expertises, which I teach my clients to have them converting 40% of the room or 1 in 4 contracts that they pitch.
Let’s go back to the Kindergarteners. You might not have been learning how to code but you were actually learning a much more valuable skill: show and tell. This is the same skill that you need to apply in every conference room or lecture hall you enter if you are looking for your audience to engage with your content and respond to it.
So, think back and ask yourself: If I didn’t have all these fancy graphs then how would I explain the value of my service? It’s as simple as that. And, it can have your participants going from 30% retention to 90%.