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One view is that you have to “buy” attention from the beginning. Too many presenters make a serious mistake when just they start talking.

To change this is to build anticipation and then, in the right moment, give them what they desire. Our brain loves to look toward to a future state.  If you have ever salivated before taking a first bite of a delicious meal, then you know the power of anticipation.  Creating anticipation makes audience generate questions like:

What is a presenter’s biggest fear? 

 

During a presentation, the biggest risk a presenter runs is to lose his audience.
 

A good movie projects us right into the middle of it. How do we accomplish this with a presentation? How do you ensure that your audience's curiosity stays alive until the very end? 

ARE YOU PUTTING YOUR AUDIENCE

TO SLEEP?

AND 

NOW?

I WANT TO KNOW THE CONTINUATION OF THIS PRESENTATION

WHAT

WILL

HAPPEN?

To create anticipation at the beginning is inspire your audience to have a desire.

 

You can create a “bridge to the future” using scenarios that sound like fiction and during the presentation you show them how close you are to getting there.

 

This “bridge” opens a gap in your audience’s mind. So, you create a SET UP and have the responsibility to PAY OFF

SET UP

Using words like “imagine”, “think of”, “suppose that”, and many others, to introduce a word of fiction that will make your audience create a desire for the subject you are presenting.

 

For example, let’s pretend it is 2011 and the hotel industry is struggling big time. You are an investor in the industry and you hear: “Imagine a web platform where people can rent out their homes to people, to save cost, make money, and share culture. Would you be curious to hear more?” (Airbnb)

PAY OFF

"BRIDGE TO THE FUTURE"

To “set up” means to open a gap of knowledge and generate a question in the audience’s mind. Everything can happen. To pay off means to close the gap by delivering that knowledge to the audience. At this moment, you just have one answer. It’s better that you make those moments relevant so your audience will be happy to dedicate their precious time with you.

Another word that may help you deliver your payoff is “finally”. Let’s pretend you have an application you have built: “Finally, a free-to-download messenger app for smartphones. We use the internet to send messages, images, audio or video so there is no cost” (WhatsApp)

Finally, the golden principle for great presentations is not to brag. Forget about making declarations about your qualities. Instead, tell a story that the audience will have a conclusion that you are the best at what you do.

So, now you are prepared to have the answer for the question I asked at the beginning: What is a presenter’s biggest fear?  Answer: the audience daydreaming with a lack of attention.  Make sure you do all you can to avoid this trap!

TRAP