how to present

4 tips to create engaging and interesting presentations

4 tips to create engaging and interesting presentations 780 441 nMerge

In a world of content overload, an invitation to present to an audience either in person or remotely via webinar is an opportunity not to be wasted.  Create engaging and interesting presentations to listen to and to view.  An expectant audience must not be let down by a monotone, wordy PowerPoint presentation.  We have all sat through those either politely stifling a yawn or dropping your phone into your lap to secretly read your emails.

Instead, lead your audience on a journey of discovery.  Take them straight to the crux of your story so they are switched on from the first sentence and then begin weaving the story around it. Be inspired by the creative souls in our lives who capture our attention so naturally – the artists, the painters, the actors and the musicians. They can take seemingly mundane topics and create imaginative and thought provoking stories.

Here are 4 tips to help you create engaging and interesting presentations:

  1. Sing. Not literally! But add rhythm and flow to your presentation. Bring your words to life with inflections, staccato and a mixture of tone and volume to your voice.
  2. Act. Perform like an actor and prepare so you don’t fall into the trap of only reading what is written on a slide. Capture the attention and imagination of the audience so that they come with you on the journey.
  3. Design. Paint the story not just with words but also include visual imagery to engage with your audience. Fulfill more than just their sense of hearing. Visual cues are powerful additions to presenting.
  4. Statistics are important however if you can place those statistics into a context that is easily understood then it will also be more memorable. For example, we have all heard that we are in a world of content overload but if I tell you that a human’s attention span is now shorter than that of a gold fish then you have a more tangible idea of how important it is to capture your audience’s attention at the very beginning or you may as well be presenting at an aquarium!

Spend time breathing life into your presentations and not only will your audience be more engaged but you will have a more enjoyable experience too.  There are many great books to help you design as well as present.  One of my favourites is  Slide:ology by Nancy Duarte for a book that is easy to read and can help guide you through the creation process.  Presentations that persuade and motivate by Harvard Business School Press also has some great tips on tailoring and building your presentation as well as overcoming stage fright.  Last but by no means least is Life’s A Pitch by Bayley and Mavity.  How great is this quote from their book, ‘So to pitch successfully, you have to understand that it’s not about widening someone’s knowledge base, it’s about giving them a jolting power surge to their emotional electricity.’  That combination of art and science, emotion and knowledge, heart and mind is the pinnacle of what we want to achieve as presenters.

But what about the times when presenting isn’t an option? Consider incorporating videos into your marketing collateral. Speaking engagements or face to face meetings can be rare so videos offer a way to still engage more fully with your potential customers.  Honing in on the message and then bringing it to life through video can be the edge you were looking for.

One final tip on videos – find the line between when you need a professional scripted, edited and produced video that may take months to finish, to when you can have one created that is more simple, quicker but still gets the message across. There is a time and a place for both but always keep in mind that content creation is an ongoing process so think about conducting an audit on your current processes, resources and suppliers to confirm that you have the ability to create on demand and on message.  Work more efficiently internally so that you can be more effective with your customers.


Felicity Shade is Head of Operations at nMerge Pty Ltd providing consulting, systems and services to Australian companies as well as partnering with marketing and sales technology vendors and thought leaders in Europe and Silicon Valley, USA. Felicity has broad and in-depth experience across senior management within the technology and environmental sciences sector.  This includes business development and marketing for complex technology solutions into new and existing markets.  She has significant experience in international business leading marketing and sales teams across dispersed geographies and cross-cultural markets.

Felicity has completed an MBA (International Business), Bachelor of Arts & Bachelor of Science. She is also the 2010 recipient of the future leader of export award presented by the Governor General, Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO.

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