Is Your Audience Even Paying Attention?

You know the look. You are giving a presentation when all of the sudden, you can see your audience’s eye glaze over. You worked days, even months, on your presentation, and you’re diligently making sure that you’re avoiding making any of the rookie mistakes of public speaking. But now, standing up in front of your audience, you’re wiping your brow wondering how to recover.

The truth is, the ways that many of us have been taught to build our presentations are ineffective. Showing a classic bullet-point-filled slide is actually a surefire way to bore your audience. In fact, if you used eye tracking software on your audience, you would find the heat map results looking something like this:

This heat map indicates that your audience’s attention is all over the place, focusing on all of the points you are about to make before you can make them. They can read faster than you can talk, so by the time you get around to talking about bullet point number three, your audience has already tuned you out. This may lead to that glazed-over look in their eyes—they are visually way ahead of your verbal presentation.

Wouldn’t you rather your audience be more focused on a single idea at one time?

This heat map following an audience’s attention is much more focused; they are glued to the one message that is presented on the screen. This is an audience that is in sync with the presenter, not ahead of her—they are on the same page, listening to what she has to say because she hasn’t given it all away in her visual aid.

Here are three tactical ways to make sure your heat map looks like this one:

More Images.

Graphics, illustrations, and photographs enrich the meaning of your presentation, while igniting your audience’s emotions and giving them a visual treat that will hold their focus.

Less Text.

Blocks of text can be jarring to an audience and a crutch to a presenter. When you use less text in your visual aid, you are forced to know your subject inside and out—which can actually help boost your confidence while presenting.

Save the bullet points for talking points and make the text on your slide no longer than the average tweet.

Frame Your Presentation Around a Story

Your visual presentation should compliment your verbal one. By framing the presentation around a story, you ensure that your audience will be captivated by both the visual representation as well as the words coming out of your mouth.

A focused audience is an attentive one. Prezi enables you to capture the audience’s attention and keep them right where you want them in your presentation to avoid drop off.