Here are my learnings after reading the book Resonate Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences.
The first important lesson is that being yourself during a presentation is critical. Removing all the human touch from a presentation is wrong and ineffective. People attend your presentation because they want to know your perspective on the subject, so you should give it to them. Sharing emotions is important because your goal is to “make your audience feel what you feel“.
Your presentation should be a story, not a report.
Reports inform, while stories entertain.
The key is to see the audience as the Hero of your story. You create a desire in the audience and then you show how your ideas fill that desire so that people adopt your perspective. You start with an incident that captures the audience’s intrigue and interest and then you start a journey from their ordinary world into your special world, gaining new insights and skills from your special world. The audience makes a conscious decision to cross the threshold into your world; they are not forced. The audience will resist adopting your point of view and will point out obstacles and roadblocks. The audience needs to change on the inside before they’ll change on the outside. In other words, they need to alter their perception internally before they change the way they act.
I found quite interesting that great presentations usually have some kind of conflict or imbalance perceived by the audience that your presentation resolves. You should clearly contrast who the audience is when they walk into the room (in their ordinary world) with whom they could be when they leave the room (crossing the threshold into a special world).
Presentations should have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Two clear turning points
The first is the call to adventure—this should show the audience a gap between what is and what could be—jolting the audience from complacency. When effectively constructed—an imbalance is created—the audience will want your presentation to resolve this imbalance.
The second turning point is the call to action, which identifies what the audience needs to do or how they need to change. This second turning point signifies that you’re coming to the presentation’s conclusion.
It’s important to follow up the call to action with a vivid picture of the potential reward. The ending should repeat the most important points and deliver inspirational remarks encompassing what the world will look like when your idea is adopted.
Presentations are meant to persuade, so there is also a subsequent action (or crossing the threshold) the audience is to do once they leave the presentation.
Your job as a communicator is to create and resolve tension through contrast. Though people are generally more comfortable with what’s familiar to them, conveying the opposite creates internal tension. Oppositional content is stimulating; familiar content is comforting. Together, these two types of content produce forward movement.
You want to make each person feel like you’re having a personal exchange with them.
For this reason, it helps to split an audience into segments—but humans are more complex than that. In order to connect personally, you have to bond with what makes people human.
No matter what the tool is, the audience should leave each presentation knowing something they didn’t know before and with the ability to apply that knowledge to help them succeed.
The key skills is to remove the inessential.
Striking a balance between withholding and communicating information is what separates the great presenters from the rest. The quality depends just as much on what you choose to remove as what you choose to include.
Finally Be honest.
Be honest with the audience and give them the authentic you. You’re not perfect; they understand that. If you are honest with yourself and with them, your presentations will have more moments of vulnerability and sincerity.