Use a Seven-Second Rule for Presentations
On television, images change approximately every 7 seconds. Yet, in organizational settings and conference presentations, we expect audience members to watch the stationery body of a presenter, speaking from behind a podium, for long periods of time. What an incredible disconnect!
To be effective as a speaker, you have to recognize that our culture is increasing fast-paced and increasingly visual. Here are some tips to build changes into your next presentation:
- Give up the podium. It’s okay to use the podium as a home base. Just don’t plant yourself there! Plan times to move. For example, move away from the podium when you make a key point, or when you ask for audience participation.
- Add vocal and visual changes. Tell a story to illustrate a point. Use photographs and dramatic graphs in your PointPoint. Raise the volume of your voice to emphasize a point. Try a stage whisper to draw the audience into a little-known fact.
- Use natural gestures. Use the gestures that come naturally in conversations. These include suggestive gestures like shaking your head and demonstrative gestures like showing the height of an object.
It’s hard to compete with a change every 7 seconds. Unfortunately, this is what your audience members have come to expect, even if they don’t realize it. Build changes into the content and the delivery of your next presentation. You’ll be rewarded with a more engaged and attentive audience.