Here at Presented, we like to make a presentation a bit more. We believe in the power of a “neuroscience presentation” that will create a PowerPoint experience people will remember. It’s not about bells and whistles. It’s about solid elearning applied to the presentation format. Unfortunately most companies (including presentation design companies) ignore the fact that a neuroscience presentation can even exist! The concern is more “just get it done”, but this isn’t really good enough.
How can a neuroscience presentation help you?
We know that neuroscience is vital to get your message across. Let’s look at some ways it can help you to present your ideas:
1) Exercise improves cognition by increasing oxygen flow into the brain.
Admittedly it’s a challenge to get people moving during a presentation, but try to arrange the room so it is less like a classroom format. In class people are under the impression that they have to sit completely still for the entirety. So a less restrictive environment or layout will give people a feeling of freedom which in turn allows their minds to actually stay focused.
2) Stressed brains don’t perform the same way as non-stressed brains.
Stress damages memory and executive function. Obviously you have no control over a person’s mood when they walk into the room. So making the atmosphere lighthearted, relaxed, informal will contribute to dissolving stress. Greet people, tell jokes (if it’s authentic to you) or relate some interesting anecdotes to put them more at ease. Keep on track too, wasting their time will only cause more stress. Stay relevant and keep your audience’s interest: ultimately they will remember more of your presentation that way.
3) After the 10 minute mark audience attention plummets.
To stop your audience from losing interest, do something emotionally stimulating every 10 minutes as emotion makes the brain pay attention. You could make the audienc move. Tell a joke or story, show a video or use some audience interaction e.g. a poll.
4) Avoid making your audience multi-task
The brain is not capable of multi-tasking. We make on average 3 times more errors on a task when we are interrupted. So don’t make your audience multi-task by listening to the presenter whilst also reading blocks of text. This can be onscreen text or text on a hand out. Instead, put a strong heading on the slide alongside some visuals. Leave the distribution of hand-outs until the end so the audience listens to you (rather than reading the information for themselves) while you speak.
5) Avoid text heavy slides
Vision is the most dominant sense for humans. Hear a piece of information, and three days later you’ll remember 10% of it. Add a picture and you’ll remember 65%. Avoid too much text on your slides and use relevant imagery to help people associate the pictures with the details.
Try to bear some of this scientific research in mind when creating your presentation. If you would like more advice on the science of presentations please get in touch.
And how to use neuroscience to create an effective presentation.