Master Your Message Blog

How To Keep Your Audience Visually On Track

Ever get really, really lost? You’re in the driver’s seat and your navigator hasn’t bothered to keep you up to speed on where you are? It’s the single biggest fault with presentations.

Presenters know where they’re going – they just don’t share the map with the audience.As presenters, we need to keep our audience on track. Tell them what we’re going to tell them up front … and then keep them up to date as we move through the presentation. Otherwise, they get lost.

“Sharing the Map” keeps your audience on track throughout your presentation.

So here are three visuals things you can do to help keep your audience on track.

One. If you have more than say three points, have an agenda slide. This is a short outline of the key points in your speech. In other words, tell your audience what you’re going to tell them – lay it out for them and then fill in the details later – along the route – in the body of your presentation.

Now let me caution you about the amount of text on your agenda slide:

Any more than about six points on an agenda slide will lose your audience. Keep it simple!

Keep your audience on track with a simple agenda slide

Keep your agenda simple

Two. If your talk is longer than 10 minutes, think modular. Break it up into sections. You might have a new title slide for each section. We need to take in information in chunks. Finish one topic, summarize, and then go on to the next.

Three. For longer talks, develop “headers” for each section of your presentation. Don’t confuse these with title bars. Each screen may indeed have a title bar to tell the audience what it’s about.

A “header,” on the other hand is a word or two that denotes what module of the presentation you’re currently in. This can go up in a top corner. You could use an icon, or a different color for each module.

So remember. You’re taking your audience on a journey. Don’t be stingy. Share the map!

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