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Presentation Skills: How To Engage Your Internal Audience

Emma HanleyEmma Hanley·
How To Engage Your Internal Audience

I was delighted to host a webinar with Simon Morton, CEO & Founder of Eyeful Presentations Ltd & Author of ‘The Presentation Lab’ on how to engage internal audiences.

In this webinar Simon spoke about the techniques and tools to apply when preparing your next internal presentation.

Listeners posed great questions to Simon, some of which would benefit any communicator. Below is an overview of some of these questions and Simons answers.

Question

What advice do you have for internal comms professionals when the biggest perpetrators of “Death by PowerPoint” are executives? Leaders who rely on wordy, overstuffed slides set a bad example for the rest of the organization.

Answer

It’s definitely a challenge! As mentioned on the webinar, I will often ask execs WHY they are bothering to present in the first place. By challenging them on why they are investing their time and, more importantly, the time of their teams, you get something to build on in terms of message. Once this is established, it becomes a lot easier to declutter the presentation by simply questioning whether content supports this message or not. Make no mistake – this is a tough challenge, often made more difficult by the culture of the business, but worth persisting with (for the sake of the audience and the presenter). Patience and tenacity will pay off!

Question

I love the use of a single prop/image to tell a story – top tips on that as a technique? BTW – are you a secret fan of Blockbusters?

Answer

LOL! Love the Blockbusters reference..! In terms of using props and images, I’m all in favour of using visual cues to support your message…but tread carefully. It’s very easy to get fixated coming up with a ‘clever’ or high impact visual that could potentially over shadow your message. I’ve seen too many presentations subliminally hijacked by fancy props with a tenuous link to the topic when something simpler would have been more effective. If in doubt, ask yourself the question – what do you want your audience to remember about your presentation in 3 days time? Is it a) the visual/prop? b) your message c) your jaw-dropping performance? Note – I’d suggest it should be ‘b’!

Question

Millennials are happy absorbing 3-4 sources of info at the same time – is that a threat or an opportunity?

Answer

Tricky…I think it’s a bit of both! I love the fact that Millennials open up a wide range of options for engagement (and note – PowerPoint is pretty low on the list). They allow us to be more creative in the way we share our message and content, from using mobile devices to getting them to interact with hard copy or whiteboard visuals (something we call Blended Presenting). If the message is strong and relevant to your Millennial audience, you will be able to engage them by playing to ‘their rules’ and have fun doing it. The flip side of the coin is that millennials proffer very direct feedback if they are not interested! This is where their multiple info sources can act as a barrier to engagement so strike early and deliver content that is both relevant and valuable to them. I hope this helps…

Question

Presentation skills should be taught at school and not just to help kids talk in front of large audiences. Thoughts?

Answer

I couldn’t agree more. My children (11 and 9) already know their way around PowerPoint but very little has been shared with them about presentation structure, message or objectives. Of course, there is an outside chance that I may be a little overly critical of this part of their schooling (!) but it does worry me that children are exposed to the software BEFORE understanding why, when and how to use it successfully. Presentation skills should be focused on helping presenters engage with their audiences using a multitude of tools (and PowerPoint is just one of them!).

Question

Is it possible to see an example of an small effective corporate presentation?

Answer

There are plenty of examples on our website: http://www.eyefulpresentations.com I hope you find these useful!

If you would like to listen to the recording and get some new practical ideas and concepts for internal presentations and learn to unlock the key to true audience engagement, click here.


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