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How to make a presentation interesting [Detailed Guide]

Last week, I found myself in a fascinating conversation with Sarah, an executive from a leading healthcare company. She was preparing to deliver a keynote speech at an upcoming industry conference and reached out to me for advice. "Our industry is notorious for boring presentations," Sarah confided. "Death by PowerPoint is the norm, and I'm determined to break that cycle. I want to know how to make a business presentation interesting and engaging. Can you help me?"


Sarah's dilemma is an industry wide challenge - the struggle to create captivating presentations that inform and influence audiences. Whether you're addressing a boardroom, a conference hall, or a virtual audience, the art of crafting an interesting presentation is a valuable skill that can set you apart from the crowd.


In this detailed article, we'll explore the strategies Sarah and we worked on together to transform her presentation from potentially dull to genuinely engaging and memorable. These tips are applicable to anyone looking to improve their presentation skills, regardless of their industry or topic. Let's dive into how to make a presentation interesting and leave a lasting impact on your audience.


How to make a presentation interesting


1. Start with a Bang: The Power of a Strong Opening


Sarah and I agreed that the first few moments of her presentation would be crucial. They set the tone for everything that follows and can make or break audience engagement. Here's how we crafted a powerful opening:


a) Tell a compelling story: We decided Sarah would begin with a relevant anecdote about a patient whose life was transformed by innovative medical technology. This immediately connected the audience to the human impact of their industry.


b) Use a startling statistic: We found a surprising fact about healthcare outcomes that could jolt the audience out of complacency and pique their interest.


c) Ask a thought-provoking question: Sarah prepared a question about the future of healthcare to engage her audience's minds right from the start.


d) Use a powerful quote: We selected a thought-provoking quote from a healthcare pioneer to set the stage for her presentation and lend authority to her message.


Example: Sarah opened with, "Imagine a world where no one dies from preventable diseases. Sounds like science fiction, right? But last year, thanks to advancements in AI-driven diagnostics, we prevented 100,000 deaths from undiagnosed conditions. Today, I'm here to show you how we can multiply that number tenfold in the next five years."


2. Harness the Power of Storytelling


We worked on weaving storytelling throughout Sarah's presentation, not just in the opening. Stories make abstract concepts concrete, evoke emotions, and make information more memorable. Here's how we incorporated storytelling:


a) Use case studies: Instead of just listing features of a new healthcare software, Sarah prepared a story about how it helped a small rural clinic improve patient outcomes, making the benefits tangible and relatable.


b) Share personal experiences: We included some of Sarah's own stories from her career in healthcare to create a connection with the audience and add authenticity to her message.


c) Create a narrative arc: We structured her entire presentation like a story, with a clear beginning (the challenges in healthcare), middle (innovative solutions), and end (the transformed future of healthcare).


d) Use analogies and metaphors: We developed analogies to help explain complex medical concepts in terms that everyone could understand.


Example: When discussing the complexity of the human genome, Sarah used this analogy: "If our DNA were a book, it would be 262,000 pages long. Our current understanding is like having read only the first chapter. Imagine what we could do when we've read the whole book!"


3. Engage Multiple Senses


To make Sarah's presentation more immersive and memorable, we incorporated elements that engaged multiple senses:


a) Use visuals effectively: We created infographics and short video clips to illustrate points about healthcare trends and innovations.


b) Incorporate sound: Sarah prepared audio clips, like the sound of a heartbeat when discussing cardiovascular health.


c) Bring props: We arranged for Sarah to bring a 3D-printed model of a new medical device to add a tangible dimension to the presentation.


d) Encourage movement: We included a brief stretch break where Sarah would lead the audience in simple exercises, tying it into a discussion about preventive care.


Example: When discussing stress management, Sarah played a short audio clip of chaotic hospital sounds, then contrasted it with calming nature sounds, visually displaying stress hormone levels on the screen, and led the audience through a quick breathing exercise.


4. Master the Art of Visual Design


Sarah and I spent considerable time on her visual aids, knowing that in the age of information overload, how you present your content visually is as important as the content itself. Here's what we focused on:


a) Embrace white space: We redesigned Sarah's slides to avoid clutter, using plenty of white space to make the content easier to digest.


b) Use a consistent, appealing color scheme: We chose colors that complemented each other and aligned with healthcare themes.


c) Limit text: We replaced text-heavy slides with bullet points, short phrases, or single powerful words.


d) Use high-quality images: We sourced clear, professional images of medical procedures and technology.


e) Incorporate data visualization: We turned complex healthcare data into easy-to-understand charts and graphs.


Example: Instead of a slide full of text about healthcare costs, we created an infographic showing the relative costs of different treatments, making the information instantly comprehensible.


5. Interact with Your Audience


To make Sarah's presentation more of a dialogue than a monologue, we incorporated these interactive techniques:


a) Ask questions: Sarah prepared questions about the audience's experiences with healthcare to encourage participation throughout the presentation.


b) Conduct polls: We set up live polling tools to gather audience opinions on healthcare issues and display results in real-time.


c) Encourage discussion: We built in time for audience members to discuss ideas about improving healthcare with each other.


d) Use gamification: We created a quick quiz on medical innovations to make learning fun and engaging.


Example: Sarah planned to ask, "By a show of hands, how many of you have used telemedicine in the past year?" followed by, "And how many found it more convenient than traditional office visits?" This would lead into her discussion on the future of remote healthcare.


6. Use Humor Wisely


We carefully incorporated humor into Sarah's presentation to make it more engaging:


a) Keep it relevant: Any jokes or funny anecdotes we included related directly to healthcare content.


b) Know your audience: We tailored the humor to be appropriate for healthcare professionals.


c) Don't force it: We emphasized that authenticity is more important than forced humor.


d) Use self-deprecating humor: Sarah prepared a humorous anecdote about her first day as a medical intern, using it to illustrate the importance of continuous learning in healthcare.


Example: When discussing the rapid pace of medical advancements, Sarah planned to say, "I remember when I thought 'Artificial Intelligence' meant the machine that dispenses coffee in the doctor's lounge. Now it's diagnosing rare diseases faster than our top specialists!"


7. Harness the Power of Surprise


To keep the audience engaged, we incorporated elements of surprise into Sarah's presentation:


a) Present unexpected information: We found facts that challenged common assumptions about healthcare.


b) Use plot twists: In a story about a medical case, we included an unexpected turn of events.


c) Incorporate surprise visuals: We used images that weren't immediately obvious in their relevance to healthcare, then explained the connection.


d) Change delivery: We planned variations in Sarah's tone, pace, and position to recapture attention at key points.


Example: Sarah started a section by discussing aviation safety, then revealed how principles from this field were being applied to improve patient safety in hospitals, drawing an unexpected connection between the two industries.


8. Master Your Delivery


We worked on enhancing Sarah's presenting skills to ensure even the most interesting content wouldn't fall flat:


a) Practice, practice, practice: Sarah rehearsed the presentation multiple times to build confidence and smooth out any rough spots.


b) Use vocal variety: We marked points in the script where Sarah should vary her tone, pace, and volume to emphasize key points and maintain interest.


c) Employ effective body language: We practiced using gestures, facial expressions, and movement to reinforce her message about medical innovations.


d) Make eye contact: Sarah practiced connecting with individual audience members to create a sense of personal communication.


e) Show passion: We worked on letting Sarah's enthusiasm for healthcare advancements shine through in her delivery.


Example: When discussing breakthrough medical treatments, Sarah practiced using excited tones and expansive gestures to convey the potential impact, then switching to a more serious tone and controlled movements when addressing challenges.


9. Leverage the Power of Repetition


We strategically used repetition to reinforce key points and make Sarah's presentation more memorable:


a) Use a catchphrase: We created the phrase "Innovate, Integrate, Improve" for Sarah to repeat throughout the presentation, hammering home her main message about transforming healthcare.


b) Employ the "rule of three": We presented ideas in groups of three for maximum impact and memorability.


c) Summarize key points: We built in recap moments for main ideas about healthcare innovation at intervals throughout the presentation.


d) Use callbacks: We planned references to earlier points or stories about medical breakthroughs later in the presentation to create a sense of continuity.


Example: Sarah would introduce a new medical technology, explain how it integrates with existing systems, and then show how it improves patient outcomes, reinforcing the "Innovate, Integrate, Improve" theme.


10. End with Impact


We crafted a powerful conclusion for Sarah's presentation:


a) Circle back to the beginning: Sarah would refer back to the opening story about a patient, showing how the healthcare innovations discussed could transform that patient's life.


b) Call to action: We clearly stated what Sarah wanted her audience to do with the information presented about improving healthcare.


c) Look to the future: We painted a picture of what could be achieved if the proposed healthcare innovations are implemented.


d) Use a powerful quote: We selected a memorable quote about the potential of medicine to change lives for Sarah to end with.


e) Ask a rhetorical question: We crafted a thought-provoking question about the future of healthcare for Sarah to leave her audience pondering.


Example: Sarah planned to conclude with, "Remember the patient I mentioned at the beginning? With the innovations we've discussed today, we can write a new ending to her story - and countless others. The question is: are you ready to be part of this healthcare revolution?"


11. Use Analogies and Metaphors


We developed analogies and metaphors to make complex medical concepts more accessible:


a) Compare the immune system to an army defending the body.

b) Liken the healthcare system to a well-oiled machine, with each part playing a crucial role.

c) Describe DNA as the body's instruction manual.


Example: When explaining personalized medicine, Sarah would say, "Think of traditional medicine as a one-size-fits-all T-shirt. Personalized medicine is like having a tailor create a custom-fit outfit just for you."


12. Incorporate Real-Time Elements


To make Sarah's presentation more dynamic and interesting, we incorporated real-time elements:


a) Live demonstrations: We arranged for Sarah to demonstrate a new medical technology in real-time.

b) Real-time data: Sarah would show live health data (with proper privacy measures) to illustrate a point about monitoring or telemedicine.

c) Breaking news: We prepared Sarah to incorporate any breaking healthcare news to show the immediacy and relevance of her topic.


Example: Sarah would pull up a live feed of anonymized patient data from a local hospital to show how AI was helping prioritize emergency room cases in real-time.


13. Use the Power of Contrast


We leveraged contrast to make Sarah's presentation more interesting:


a) Compare and contrast: Sarah would show the difference between old and new medical techniques.

b) Before and after: We included before and after scenarios to illustrate the impact of healthcare innovations.

c) Alternate between big picture and details: Sarah would switch between broad healthcare trends and specific patient stories.


Example: Sarah would contrast a timeline of a patient's journey through the healthcare system five years ago with the streamlined process today, highlighting the improvements at each step.


By implementing these strategies, Sarah transformed her keynote from a potentially dry recitation of healthcare facts into an engaging, inspiring presentation that captivated her audience. She received overwhelmingly positive feedback, with many attendees commenting on how interesting and memorable her presentation was.


Work with us

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If, like Sarah, you’d like our assistance with your presentations, please feel free to reach out. We’d love to collaborate with you.

 


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