Archive for the 'General' Category

Capturing and sustaining audience attention: beyond slide-only delivery


Yes, a lot of people know the phrase ‘death by Powerpoint’ already (and no matter if you use Keynote, problems can be the same). Although it’s a bit unfair to simply blame Powerpoint (or do you think it is the fault of Microsoft’s Word in case you don’t like this text?:-), all of us should take care to use people’s attention span wisely. Powerpoint makes it easy to rely on text heavy slide decks. Presenters which are too lazy to rehearse their presentation find it convenient to have their notes in front of them. At a recent conference I was attending, somebody said, a lot of presentations create the impression of “guided reading”.

Doing a presentation means for a presenter or speaker, facing a couple of challenges. Besides capturing people’s attention, you have to sustain this attention for the entire
presentation and of course every presentation has a purpose, means passing on information and knowledge.

The widely seen corporate and education culture to circulate slides, has led into a situation where slide content is extremely dense to maintain the meaning and the context of the presentation (a hand out would do a better job, but that means more efforts for the presenter, unfortunately…). We know from studies that there is a high risk of overloading the audience (e.g. Sweller) and a bored audience will be the result. Another risk is facing the so-called ‘change blindness’. This refers to the circumstance that audience may not notice visual changes, such as one slide transitioning to the next, if the general layout and appearance of the slide is preserved across the transition.

The common practice to deliver presentations and lectures for durations of up to an hour or even longer, although it’s known that attention span can be as little as 10 minutes, forces a presenter to find engaging ways to keep audience attention. Sustaining attention requires novelty and in environments where slide presentations are the norm, such criteria are extremely difficult to satisfy through Powerpoint alone. By using a Visualizer you become unpredictable and it will be easy to surprise your audience by showing rather than just telling. As Barney Stinson says, ‘If you want to succeed you have to stop being ordinary and be legend – wait for it – dary’.

This will guarantee attention, at least for a while!


Different learning styles are a fact

Learning styles relate to how you process new information. Knowing your style and the style of others can improve your communication skills and productivity!


There are a lot of theories out there, but like all things pertaining to the human brain, it is complex and there is not only one right answer. What we do know with relative certainty is that all of us have different preferred ways of learning, and that we like to combine “styles.”

So why not offering different sorts of information to your audience?

It’s all about the presentation

In the last few decades presentations have become the leading sort of communication in business and science. Presentations have one purpose – to impart information and knowledge in a memorable fashion so that the audience will be persuaded and take positive actions as a result. This is a common aim, whatever the nature of the presentation is for corporate, financial, sales and marketing, training courses, education or conferences.

It’s essential for the presenter to attract and maintain the attention of the audience, to effectively present, to generate interest to encourage excitement and to captivate the participants. But the omnipresent PowerPoint and users which are just benchmarking their own presentations to previous experiences are the worst combination somebody can imagine.

PowerPoint is the dominating presentation software. Estimations are indicating that between 250-300 million computers have installed a version of PowerPoint. About 30 million presentations are done every day, right now more than 1 million presentations are going on.

For a lot of people PowerPoint is the ultimate tool when it comes to doing a presentation, so no wonder that 95% of all presentation are done by using this software. According to a survey in German companies, 84% of all presentations are considered to be drowsy and boring. 13% of the presentations are considered okay, but that means 97% of the presentations done today have room for improvement, sometimes a lot.

Do you know the secrets of a good presentation?

The most important factors for successful presentations, training sessions and meetings are quite simple to name, but not so easy to implement. It’s essential for the presenter to capture and maintain the attention of the audience, to effectively present, to create interest, to encourage excitement and to captivate the participants.

This blog will focus on useful and easy to implement tips.

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