There are 5 very important presentation lessons we can learn from the world of social media.
1. Facebook first
That’s exactly what many people would rather be doing whilst they are listening to a presentation.
After all, so many business presentations can be quite tedious to listen to. Have you ever felt that urge to check out what’s happening on your Facebook page or on your emails as soon as the presenter turns her back to you to read her slides?
Many of the reasons that Facebook is so powerfully addictive are the very same lessons to be learned for presenting.
– We are curious
We want to know what’s going on and to be certain that we aren’t missing out on anything.
As presenters we have to craft and deliver a presentation which will make our audience instantly curious about what’s coming next. We have moments to do that and so we have to open our presentation with impact.
Forget the niceties and formalities
– Ask a thought provoking question
– Share a shocking fact or statistic
– Tell them a short, relevant and powerful story
– Make them smile
Once you have aroused their curiosity, say something that will leave them in no doubt that everything you have to say from now on will be of great benefit or value to them.
If it isn’t then why are you presenting anyway?
Make your audience a promise you can comfortably keep.
– We want to connect
We all want to feel a sense of connection.
Help your audience to connect with you. Let them into your world. Be prepared to be a little vulnerable and show them who you really are.
Ditch the corporate spokesperson and have a conversation instead.
– We are bored
One reason so many of us tune into Facebook so frequently throughout the day, is because we are bored; even at work.
If you are presenting and your audience feel even slightly be bored, the games over. Make certain that everything you plan to say, show and do is personal to them, interesting and of value.
Ask yourself why you would stay tuned in if you were them.
2. Think like a tweet
I’ve often said that I believe that far too many professionals present their ideas to others as though they are comedians.
That doesn’t mean that I think that they are funny.
A comedian tells a story and saves the punchline for the end.
Many business presenters tell their story saving their key message, (their punchline) for the very end.
It works with a joke but it’s painful in a presentation.
If you can’t clearly, concisely and richly deliver your message in the form of a tweet then I don’t believe you have a powerful one to share.
Craft your message with absolute clarity and make certain you give it to your audience right at the start.
3. Get them LinkedIn
Every now and then a proud father will post a picture of their son’s first Karate lesson.
You may even stumble across the odd holiday sunset in Bali, but for the most part its business.
LinkedIn’s main purpose is to help people to network professionally. Most professionals have learned that the best way to do that is to share rich content.
As I’m writing this article I switched over to LinkedIn for a moment and the first 3 articles on my timeline are:
How can you tell if someone is going to be a good team fit?
Scrap your work from home policy
A rough guide to leading organisational change
In other words once you’ve found your ‘tweet’, aka your message, stay completely focused on it
Networking isn’t a skill to be reserved exclusively for connecting with people you don’t yet know. It offers a huge opportunity for us to connect even deeper with those we do already know.
When crafting your presentation, ask yourself 3 very important questions
What’s so important in this presentation that my audience should give me their undivided attention for 20 minutes?
As a result of listening, what tangible difference will it make to their personal or professional lives?
How do I want my audience to feel?
4. Take Pinterest
Pinterest has become enormously successful as a virtual pin board through the use of images. For some considerable time now much research has suggested that most of us are visual learners.
In other words, we like to see things in pictures
With over 100 million monthly active users, Pinterest has more than demonstrated that human beings like images.
Next time you’re presenting, do yourself and your audience a favour and use relevant, colourful and compelling images to help animate your words.
5. The downside
It’s also worth taking a moment to ponder on lessons learned from social media in terms of what we should try to avoid.
With social media, I think its fair to say that a great deal of communication also takes place through text and the written word. A presentation is an opportunity to connect face to face, either in person or virtually. When doing so, keep text to an absolute minimum.
Remember, your audience have come to listen to you, not to read.
Whether it’s sunsets, selfies or smoothies, alot of people are using social media to collect ‘likes.’
It’s easy to understand why
I think the article, ‘Understanding the psychology behind social media likes,’ sums it up well:
‘Every time you see a bigger number of likes, your brain initiates the huge increase of the hormone called dopamine. It is commonly known as a hormone of happiness.
Remember that feeling when you eat chocolate, kiss your beloved one, drink a fine cocktail, or smell your favorite aroma? That’s what dopamine does.’
We all want to feel good, that’s perfectly natural
That said, at Mindful Presenter we encourage presenters to focus on how they can help their audience, rather than impressing them with their presentation skills. Your audience will like and support you if you craft a presentation designed to help them rather than simply brag about how much you know.
Who would have thought that we could learn so much about high impact presenting from the arguably impersonal world of social media.
Each of these social media sites has built enormously successful empires and in many cases without even using the spoken word. Imagine the power of these principles with the spoken word.
That said, don’t drown them in text, share poor visuals or focus on them liking you.
If you would like to learn many more important presentation lessons:
– Book yourself onto a powerful public speaking course.
– Invest in some really good one to one public speaking coaching.
– Get yourself some excellent presentation training
Image courtesy of Canva.com