Leaders have to give presentations. Wait, let’s reframe that: Leaders get to make presentations. It’s one of your most important skills.
Weary of samey-samey presentations that are boring even you? Here are three tactics to amp up your next presentation. You probably don’t want to use these tactics all in the same presentation. They’re like strong seasoning, best used in small amounts.
The intentional falsehood
Tell your audience at the start that there is one small falsehood in your presentation. You’ll ask them later in the presentation if they spotted it. It sounds something like this: “My parents always told me to tell the truth. Today, I’m going to tell you many truths, but I have intentionally left in one false statement – not big but I challenge you to spot it. I’ll tell you what it is at the end of the presentation.”
This will trigger most people in your audience to not only study everything you have in your presentation deck, but every statement you make orally. You just activated their whole brain into a game of carefully fact-checking and considering everything.
Suggestion – don’t make the falsehood central to your presentation theme. Everything important they should remember should be true information. Slip something small like “XZY has grown 42% in one month” when the truth is 4.2%. It’s a mistake to slip in a falsehood about a person that might be offensive.
Ask your audience if they’ve spotted the false information, and then reveal. This is not a tactic to use often but is very good at riveting their attention.
Ask them to summarize or teach it
Early on, share with your audience that you’re going to explain something, and then ask them to turn to the person next to them to paraphrase and explain it to them. People listen more carefully and retain more if you ask them to teach someone else the information.
It sounds like this: “I’m going to go over the 4 main points about our focus areas for next quarter. Pay attention because after I explain it, I want you to take turns explaining it to the people next to you. It’s important that you’re able to articulate these.”
Be sure to commend people for trying and succeeding.
Use the “Not” Game to emphasize what you are going to do
Sometimes people benefit from a clear statement of the negative of what you want, or a partial of what you want. Let’s say your group has been handed the challenge of growing revenue 12% in the next 6 months. Put that statement on the screen, and then add “Not” statements to make it clearer. For example:
Grow our revenue 12% in 6 months
Not “Cut costs by 4%”
Not “Grow by 12% in 2 years”
Not “Grow by 5% in 6 months”
Not “Grow our department’s revenue by taking it from other departments”
Defining the Not cases gives clarity about what you expect, and gives you a head start on sorting out the people who have already generated excuses.
Give these presentation twists a try. You’ll have more fun, and your audience will, too. More fun means more memorable and effective.