I attended a conference few years back that had some of the best scientists and scholars on board. As I sat there in the audience, listening to speakers, it is fair to say that I only remember two of the: One was extremely painful to watch, the other was mesmerizing.
So what was the difference between these two individuals? A few things.
Here are some pointers to for a successful product launch and to deliver a powerful presentation that leaves a potentially lasting impact.
Cast a spell. Prepare a powerful opening, as this is the most crucial part of your talk. Start with an intriguing question or a personal story. Witticism perks up people as well. If you are demonstrating or giving a tutorial, stage your product live and have the audience decide for themselves.
I remember in my undergraduate program, we were asked to introduce new CAD (computer aided design) software to students. While other groups were busy looking up software and narrating their many glossy features, we actually constructed a whole 3D model of one the students to demonstrate the full capacity of the bundle of ingenious code we were flaunting. Next thing we knew, we got calls from other instructors for a detailed replay.
Point being, give your audience something to remember you by.
Influence them emotionally. Know your subject matter intimately. Then get your audience to connect emotionally with your story. (Try not to overwhelm people with a lot of figures and records and kill the topic altogether.) Tell them the tale behind the numbers. Aim for the heart and you will have them listening raptly.
I was listening to this very uninteresting presentation on infectious diseases, with the speaker going on as if anyone cared about the many symptoms and death tolls rising in decimals and figures. It wasn’t until he narrated a personal story about almost losing his loved one to an infection that we were really started paying attention. Emulate that approach.
Bottom line: The minute you make your presentation relatable, you have everyone tuned in.
Show and tell. Another point pertinent to a successful presentation is good visuals. Think outside of the box. Conceptualize your topic in a way that stands out of the crowd. Let it be different and people will certainly remember.
To achieve this, get a designer or a creative editor to piece up your presentation together to give it a more visually appealing look. Of course, you do not have to stick to PowerPoint. There are other software available that can help you engage your audience in a more fluid and dynamic way. Prezi and StoryDesk are among a few notable examples.
Keep in mind, if you have regulars in your audience, they will always expect a fresh approach from you. It is the eagerness and anticipation of something new that has them hooked, and you should not disappoint.
Always have a trump card. Keep a trump card, and save it for the last moment.
When we were asked to give a software review, we kept our home-made 3D demo for the very end and left everyone stunned and speechless.
It works every time.
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