Master Your Message Blog

How to Make Facts “Stick” During a Presentation

Make your presentation facts interesting and memorable.

Ever have a presenter give you a fact during a presentation and you had no idea what it meant – how it related to you or anything else, for that matter?

If you’re like me, the answer is “all the time.”

There are technical presentations in which presenters ream off fact after fact after fact with no indication as to what’s really important and how it relates to what you already know. At the end of the presentation, you leave the room wondering what on earth it all meant, unable to remember even a single number or point.

The most error I see most often is the presenter who throws out a number without the context. For example, my country, Canada, is almost ten millions square kilometres in size. Well … so what? But if you told me that Canada is the second largest country in the world – only Russia is bigger – that’s context. THAT puts it in perspective. THAT I’ll remember!

If you’re going to have an impact on your audience, you have to make sure the facts you throw out actually mean something to them. Your facts and figures have to be “relative” to something your audience understands.

Here’s another example: The largest land animal in the world is the Kodiak bear. It weighs about 862 kilograms. And again you’d say “OK … so what?”

It doesn’t mean much until you put it in perspective.

But, you tell me that a Kodiak bear weights roughly the same amount as 14 male gymnasts … Well, we imagine it. And we remember it, because it’s so outrageous.

Humans think in pictures. A visually-oriented presentation is the most powerful.

Make it visual if you possibly can. We remember visuals; they spark our imagination. We don’t remember numbers or facts on their own. Remember, humans think in pictures – we always have, we always will. Therefore, most powerful communication is in pictures. Here’s my short two minute video on that subject.

The other thing to keep in mind is that the human brain hates “boring.” It wants excitement; it wants “fresh.” You yourself know that something new or fresh gets your attention. You pay little attention to the mundane. It’s no different with presentations, both the content and your delivery. John Medina’s “Brain Rules” is an excellent book on how we take in information – one of my very favorites.

So … make your facts relative to something we know; make them visual – the more outlandish the visual, the more it will be remembered.

That’s relativity … not the Einstein way – the presentation way.

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