Without a doubt, when we present, one of our objectives is to create material that engages the audience so they keep listening to us right until the end.
The other day I came across this great TEDX talk by presentation skills trainer Mark Robinson called ‘How to Present to Keep your Audience’s Attention’.
In the video he shows us how to employ two important techniques: asking questions and telling stories.
But he goes further than that. He shows us how to combine the two techniques to produce a clear, focused and memorable presentation.
His format consists of asking four questions related to your topic You then incorporate the story telling element by answering your questions with a personal story to illustrate your points.
The questions are:
- What is the problem I’m addressing with my presentation?
Answer this question by telling a story about how you experienced a similar problem. Make the story relevant to your audience – tell them WHY they should be interested.
- Why does/did the problem occur?
Tell the story of how you discovered the cause of your problem.
- What are/were possible solutions?
Give details of the options you tried.
- What is your recommended solution?
Now tell the story of which solution you applied and why.
The beauty of this approach is that the whole presentation can be framed as a story which allows the audience to remember your message more easily. However, by using questions as a foundation, we also peak the audience’s curiosity.
Also note how Mark Robinson loops back and skillfully links his ending back to the hook with which he starts the presentation. He then uses the words ‘I have a dream’ as the basis to drive home his core message – that everyone can learn how to deliver engaging presentations.
Enjoy the video!