How To Grab Your Audience’s Attention with Your Business PowerPoint Presentation

Nowadays, there’s much debate about the human attention span, including the question of whether it’s shrinking.

New research published in the scientific journal Nature Communications posits that this is exactly what’s happening in our information age. According to the study, our collective attention span is indeed shrinking.

The researchers demonstrate that because we have more to focus on, we end up focusing for shorter periods of time.

“The world has become increasingly well connected in the past decades. This means that content is increasing in volume, which exhausts our attention and our urge for ‘newness’ causes us to collectively switch between topics more rapidly,” says one of the study’s authors.

It’s commonly agreed that technology (we’re looking at you, social media!) plays a major role in this phenomenon. According to Cal Newport, computer science professor at Georgetown University and author of the New York Times bestseller Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World, technology is not only distracting us, it’s rewiring the way our brains work. Because we focus less often, our brains are less able to focus, and round and round we go.

Maybe you’ve seen evidence of this at work, especially during business PowerPoint presentations? Do you notice your audience doing double duty, looking at their phones or other devices while you’re presenting?

It can be frustrating when you’ve spent all that time preparing a professional PowerPoint presentation that you think will blow their socks off, and you can’t even get eyeballs on your slides.

It’s a presentation jungle out there.

So, how can you get your audience’s attention and keep it when delivering your next PowerPoint presentation?

You’ve got to work fast, grabbing your audience’s attention from the moment they walk into the room and then holding it until you thank them for their time in your closing remarks. There’s no room for unimaginative, uninspiring content in today’s business PowerPoint presentations.

Here’s four effective ways to grab your audience’s attention with your next big PowerPoint presentation from your experts at eSlide:

Start with a bang

Engage your audience right from the start by playing some music as your audience is walking into the presentation room. Music is an effective way to gain control of the room before your presentation has even started. It signals to your audience that there is a change happening from whatever they were doing previously and helps direct their attention to what’s happening now.

Music also helps set the tone for a presentation. By hitting your audience on an emotional level, music can help elevate the mood in the room and generate excitement. Just make sure the tune you choose is appropriate for the message you want to convey through your presentation.

If kicking off with ‘Eye of the Tiger’ or ‘Born in the USA’ isn’t appropriate for your business PowerPoint presentation, start off with a video that packs a punch. PowerPoint allows you to add all kinds of bells and whistles to your video to make them even more visually appealing, such as having them play within a shape or adding frames, tilts, shadows, reflections or bevels. Just remember to always embed your video into your presentation to avoid any technical glitches.

Videos and music can also be combined for a double dose of wow.

Tell a compelling story

Everyone loves a good story, including professional audiences. A compelling narrative is a key part of any business PowerPoint presentation as it’s a good way to get your audience interested and then hold their attention by using visual elements that help weave your narrative throughout your presentation. Whether your story is about you, a product, sales figures, or impressive data, spinning a yarn and displaying it with impressive visual graphics will help your audience connect with your message and remember it better.

Don’t forget, good stories have a beginning, middle and end. Remember to include both verbal and visual touchstones for each within your business PowerPoint presentation.

Give them context

No matter how impressive your data points or sales figures, they won’t impress your audience if they’re delivered without context. By taking a figure your audience is already familiar with and using it as a comparison with your figures, your audience can see immediately why your numbers are so amazing. Putting your numbers into context is an impactful way to grab your audience’s attention.

Here’s an example: when Neil Armstrong took his trip to the moon, he had a 239,000 mile commute. The distant from Earth to Mars is 33.9 million miles. Using those two numbers together, it’s instantly apparent why Buzz Aldrin’s “Get Your A$$ to Mars” campaign may still be a long way off from coming to fruition. That’s the type of context you want to give your own figures in your next business PowerPoint presentation, and it’s easy to do with the right visuals.

Circle back to the beginning

Your presentation needs to end on a high point too. An effective way to bring things full circle is to integrate some of the same elements you used in the beginning, for example, playing another clip from that video or maybe using the same song for the exit. If you used a unique contextualization, remind your audience of it by showing that impressive graphic or other visual representation of it again. If you told a personal story, raise that again with both verbal and visual cues. These techniques will help you evoke the emotions once more and leave your audience with that same feeling of surprise, curiosity, enthusiasm, etc. as they go back to their normal routine.

Competing with the information onslaught is a problem we all face and it’s only getting harder to be heard above the digital din. Only the best presentations will get noticed and remembered in our information age. Make sure yours can compete by enlisting the help of our expert presentation design team. We have more than 20+ years’ experience creating business PowerPoint presentations that grab the attention and drive an audience to action. Give us a call today for a free consultation.

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