We love to apply neuroscience to presentations here at Presented. We’ve studied multimedia learning and some of the neuroscience behind presentations. Correctly applying this science to your slide design and strategy can help an audience to both understand and remember your message.
Sadly, science is almost universally ignored in presentations. We let ourselves down and we let our audiences down.
Examples that go against multimedia learning principles include: presenters talking while audiences read. Graphics aren’t relevant. Colours aren’t used consistency for meaning. A lack of no navigation or guidance through a deck. Labels situated far from the objects they describe. Charts are heavy with “junk”. Headings aren’t meaningful. The messages are lost. The presentation structure is ineffective. The list goes on… All too often a presentation is like a braindump, with no strategic message crafted. It’s a waste of an opportunity.
To present better, brain science will help. Read and follow our 5 ways to apply neuroscience to presentations:
Apply neuroscience to your presentation:
1. Tell a story
Sometimes presentation content isn’t the most exciting topic. We’ve dealt with some real boredom-fests. But there are many ways to make content more interest. To start: mimic the structure of a story with a beginning, middle and an end. This means setting the scene, creating a narrative, a problem and solution, or a journey, a quest, that type of thing.
Got a learning challenge? Make it a quest for everyone to be better at Health & Safety (or whatever your topic is). Think about it like gamification if you will. But stories and games can make our presentations easier to grasp, follow and remember. Make it clear why the story is relevant to your audience (the beginning), raise and resolve all the issues (the middle), and summarise and wrap up concisely and clearly (the end).
You might think it has a story structure – but step back, be objective and analyse it. Consider how you could apply the dynamics of a story plot line. It will give your audience a much better experience.
2. Obey the 10 Minute Mark
Research shows that an audience is most attentive at the start of a presentation, with attention decreasing dramatically every ten minutes. To avoid losing your audience break your messages into ten minute chunks. At the end of each section do something to hold attention, such as play a short (relevant) video or ask a question. Even a restful pause or a joke (use wisely) can help to chunk time and messages.
3. Play on emotions
Emotions help humans to relate to information. Admittedly it can be difficult to make a corporate presentation emotional, but if you can talk about a problem that affects the audience themselves you will have their attention right away. Pulling on so-called heart strings and using stories can increase the memorability. As can using anecdotes and illustrations to bring each point more vividly to life.
4. Be visually appealing
Visual information is much easier to remember than oral information. Using relevant imagery or graphics in your presentation will grab your audience’s attention. It will also make it easier for them to remember what they have seen once the presentation is over.
5. Limit the text
As mentioned above people cannot remember too much information in one go, so don’t fill your slides with text. Use one message per slide and use well designed visuals to replace text content where possible.
Need our help to apply neuroscience to presentations?
Then get in touch!
Or read this book on multimedia learning by Richard E Mayer 🙂