Presentation Skills Tip: Simplify and Be More Dramatic

Simplify and be more dramatic. Such a small and simple suggestion. Yet, it’s a great tip to keep in mind. And it really brings together several important presentation skills elements—including, for example, aspects of The Five Visual Delivery Skills and The Four Audible Delivery Skills. It’s also a way to extend the impact of the Persuasive Presentation Model we so often recommend.

The Persuasive Model for presentations helps presenters increase audience engagement. Its logical structure builds a sense of need for the solution that the presentation then showcases. But if the presenter shifts from problem to solution without any notable emphasis in delivery, the helpful effect of the structure is muted. If the titles on the accompanying visuals do little or nothing to announce the change, there’s even less chance of impact. Worse yet, some presenters will eagerly rush in to explain the wonderful details of their solution—before stating simply and clearly what it is.

The moment when a presentation shifts from describing the problem to offering the solution is a wonderful opportunity for the presenter to put good delivery skills and visuals to work. And it's an opportunity for the audience to feel reenergized and relief as you delivery the solution. Don’t squander the moment. Transition from the problem to the solution with some drama and emotion.

Try this: Before you move to the solution, summarize the problem as simply and clearly as you can. Get your audience ready and all but asking for your solution… “Is there a better way?” Then, pause for a second or two. Then, use some of those 9 delivery skills, and announce with some emotion that there is a better way. Move to your next visual—showing a clear message capturing the solution (you'll get to explain it in as much detail as you want a moment later).

That simple adjustment can make a tremendous (err, dramatic) difference in the power your presentation has on your audience.