The corporate world is all about convincing people to do something for you or the other way round. And presentations are a key to them! You have to finalize a deal? Show a presentation. You have to bring something new in the market? Show a presentation. You want to get something approved? Where is the presentation? But is it only about throwing some stuff in a slide and later explaining? Well definitely it is more than just that.
Humans have a short span of attention and a feeble memory. They can’t focus on something for too long and definitely can’t keep everything in their memory due to its limited capacity. Writing and talking too much will all be in vain.
To be the star of the show and to get your points across the room in a limited time and have an impact at the same time is not easy, but this article will help you achieve that. Tips on how to make a presentation attention grasping are available everywhere in terms to sticking to the time, keeping it short and appealing but are you aware of the element of psychology in it?
Read ahead to know more about the role of human psychology, memory, attention and perception to see what all actually impacts a human during a presentation. And also to know about the do’s and don’ts of a presentation.
Framework of knowledge
It is formed overtime as we come across something new and try to make sense of it. When we come across something we already know, it doesn’t make any changes in the framework of knowledge but only strengthens it, but when we come across something new, we either fit it in or we make changes in our framework of knowledge to form an understanding of it. So basically if something novel comes up, it is human tendency to be curious about it and try to get more information about the same.
- Add novel components in your presentation which haven’t been discussed earlier.
- Add questions in between the presentation to make it engaging.
- Add too much of already known facts.
Mode of presentation
Every individual has different ways of learning and holding on to information. Some grasp more through visual pathways and others through auditory pathways. Use of different modes can achieve that. The duration of holding information in sensory memory is different for different modalities and we can make optimum use of that if we are aware of how it works.
- Use of visuals like self-explanatory charts, graphs, pie charts can help convey the information across the table.
- Use of short video or audio clips can also be helpful.
- Try to add everything at in one presentation even when it isn’t required.
Serial positioning effect
Suppose you have to learn a list of 10 items and recall after a brief period of time. Then the topmost and bottom most items are recalled with ease while the items in the middle of the list are lost in the process. This is called serial positioning effect. It has components of primacy and recency effect.
Primacy effect explains that items on top of the list are remembered as they are rehearsed during the process and recency effect explains that items in the last of the list are recalled with ease due to them being recent and still in the short term memory.
This principle is more than important for you to ignore.
- Keep the important items in the first few slides.
- Review important ideas and topics at the end of the presentation to bring attention to it.
- Keep the middle section for explanation and stretching of the ideas and topics.
- Keep valuable points in the middle section of presentation.
Use everyday examples
Something that strikes a cord with our personal experiences is retained more easily. Use of daily life occurrences can help you get your point across the table. People usually connect on common things like TV shows, movies, favourite childhood game. Stuff like what route you take, things you notice about the world, can be helpful in creating a personalized experience.
- Do a research on the client and get to know some of his/her interests, use them in your presentation.
- Use a story or incident you think will help connect everyone.
- Use jargons in your presentation. It might not be easy for a newbie to connect and understand easily.
- Use incidents that are way too personal for everyone to make sense of.
George Miller did a study on human memory and found humans have a short-term memory of fewer than thirty seconds with a capacity of seven elements with a buffer of two, meaning they can retain five to nine elements at once. And only the rehearsed items will make their way into long-term memory which has unlimited capacity. When a term is cued with meaning, description, and understanding, it is then when it becomes handy.
- Make your list of elements short with five to nine items.
- Explain the new terms and elements properly with examples.
- Add a review or summary of important points in the end.
- A long list of elements to remember.
- Leave without giving proper explanation.
Keep it simple
Humans have a limited capacity for paying attention and retaining stuff, once it starts to get over it, there is loss of attention. When an individual comes across a lot of information at once, information overload starts to occur, and nothing is processed.
- Maintain similarity across the presentation in terms of font, colour, modalities.
- Make bullet points.
- Too much text on one slide.
- Use of too many colours or different fonts.
Psychology is the key to the art of persuasion and by being aware of the components that have an effect in a particular situation, absolutely anyone can bring the odds in their favour. Next time you make a presentation don’t forget to use the mentioned elements to make a remarkable impact on your bosses and clients.