Growth May 13, 2010 Last updated May 13th, 2010 2,399 Reads share

Making your Presentations Memorable

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Recently one of my colleagues shared his thoughts on some of the challenges that we face during online meetings, which are becoming more and more prevelant, especially in large multinational corportations, where it is quite common to have teams or projects where all people are based in different locations.

The challenges of online presentations are something that I’d like to return to in a later post.  For now I’d like to share my thoughts on how to make your presentations more memorable.

I’m a big fan of Mindmaps, and I recently bought a book called Mindmaps for Business by the Mindmapping guru Tony Buzan.  One of the chapters is dedicated to improving your presentations with Mindmaps.  The reader learns how he, or she, can use Mindmaps to better plan their presentation, and even as a medium to display their presentation – replacing our dreaded old friend, Powerpoint.

However what stood out for me, and what I want to share with you, is something I guess that is obvious, but which a lot of us overlook when presenting.

It is quite well documented that in any learning situation, which is essentially what a presentation should be, “your audience will remember more at the beginning and at the end and less in the middle, where their memories will sag.  They will also remember parts of the content that stand out from the rest”.  For the theory behind this read more about the Serial Position Effect and the Von Restorff Effect.

When I did my first ever training on presenting, the instructor told me that I should always plan my presentations with the following structure

  1. Tell them what you’re going to tell them
  2. tell them
  3. and then tell them what you’ve told them.

Too often we see presentations where there is no introduction and no summary.  I’ve seen/heard others, and have been guilty myself of ending presentations with that immortal line of “Well that’s all I have to say, um, thank, er, you”.  Don’t pass up on the opportunity to finish strongly, and take advantage of the Serial Position Effect.

With regards to the Von Restorff Effect, and making content stand out, I’m a great fan of stories, anecdotes and relevant examples. Also if you’re comfortable with it, don’t be afraid to use humour, but make sure it’s appropriate.

If Mindmaps are not for you, and you want to use some different from Powerpoint, I’d highly recommend that you try out Prezi.  I’ve been using it for a few weeks, and to date I’ve been getting great feedback from my audiences.  Remember however it’s still only a tool, and should not be used as a crutch.

So what are your thoughts on this topic?  Is this new to you, or are you already practicing these principles?  What hints and tips do you have?  Please leave your feedback in the comments.

The views expressed on this post are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle.

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Frank Bradley

Frank Bradley

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