Delivering a Great Keynote Presentation
Part 3 – The Story
A great story has a beginning, middle and an end. It should also have moments that touch us deeply. Some humor along the way often helps the story as does the personal touch. How many elements like this can be incorporated into your presentation?
If you really want to nail your next keynote presentation then invite some colleagues in to hear you deliver it for them. Let them tell you where the highlights and the flat spots are. Let them tell you how you could soup up some of your slides to increase their impact on the audience. What I’m suggesting is that you seek second party review of your keynote presentation before you give it.
I believe that each of us are capable of coming up with somewhere between 65-95% of a great presentation on our own. However, a few minutes spent with others can take a passable presentation and make it outstanding if you are willing to seek the counsel of peers.
Sometimes the best movies or books that we see or read contain a plot twist. It’s that a-ha moment that make us stop and consider why we were so sure the plot was moving in a different direction. A good keynote presentation should have some moments where the speaker confronts our biases, prejudices, or conventional wisdom and makes us see things in a different light altogether.
When you challenge the status quo, you may have an immediate impact on the attendees. You are creating cognitive dissonance – that unsettling feeling we get when we realize we may have been wrong. In public speaking, you must engage the minds and hearts of the audience if you want to have an impact on them.
Great keynoters utilize a mix of proof points as they speak. People in an audience distrust a single source of insight. Just because you’ve done a research study does not mean that the conclusions are necessarily true. It’s fine to share relevant facts with an audience but do not assume these will change the audience’s perspectives in and of themselves. You must back up any research with anecdotal conversations with business executives or others who are facing the issue you’re discussing. You should illustrate how one company has confronted this issue via a case study. Audiences will not believe your conclusions until you paint a vivid, complete and colorful picture around the subject matter.
Try these techniques to make your story telling better:
- Substitute a picture for each slide within the body of the deck. Find relevant pictures, graphics, etc. to use instead of text. Pictures are worth thousands of words and people remember them. Audiences are terrible at memorizing your text.
- Incorporate music or a video clip into your presentation. Multi-media isn’t just for the artsy types. You can do it, too, especially since I’ve seen school age children do it all the time.
- Ask people in the audience to offer up some answers to a question you pose. Put the question on a slide or ask it from the podium/stage.
- Poll the audience once or twice. A funny thing happens when you ask an audience for their opinion. Funnier still, see how they react when you bust their bubble as to conventional wisdom.
- Walk out into the audience. Walking around is visually more entertaining to an audience. It’s a rare person who can stand motionless behind a podium for an hour and still keep the audience’s attention.