The phrase "outside the box" has come by its jargon status honestly. We're often striving to change our perspective, and try something new or more creative. We use this phrase to remind us to break out, because often we don't realize we're in the box at all.Deep, right?A previous blog post of ours gave you 6 outside-the-box ideas for presentation prep. Now, we've got some creative presentation ideas for more than just the preparation stage. Try something — anything — outside of your presentation norm. Small changes can offer big benefits.
Here are 6 things to shake up your process the next time you've got a presentation to deliver:
1. Stop thinking about feeling, start thinking about doing: When you're working with your content, it can be very easy to get stuck on how you want people to feel: "I want my audience to like it/like me/feel happy." The difficulty with that approach is that it's incredibly difficult to dictate someone else's emotional response, try as you might. (Ask anyone who's ever been a victim of unrequited love!)
What you can do is think about what you want your audience to DO with your information, and how you will try to get them to do it. It may seem like a small shift in thought, but it can change everything from content creation to delivery.
Apply it: Here's an example. Rather than thinking, "I want the audience to feel good about my software so they'll hopefully buy it," try, "I want everyone to try something new: my software! I'm going to do this by enticing them with the new features, addressing all of the old problems that the new software solves, and assuring them with our free trial promise." You've got a goal, and something YOU'RE going to do to get there rather than just hoping they'll feel something. (You can go more in-depth with this idea in our free eBook.)
2. Step away from the furniture: You've heard us say it before, and we'll say it again: get out from behind your lectern or table! People have an extraordinarily hard time trusting this idea. It takes a lot of convincing, because those barriers between a speaker and the audience can be comforting. But in the long run, they hinder audience connection
Apply it: Embrace the walk through portion of the Rehearsal Process. (Learn more about the Rehearsal Process here.) So often, we talk through our content at a desk or behind a table. Get on your feet and get used to what it feels like to deliver your content out in the open.
3. Start a story backlog: Lots of people want to tell a story in their presentations, but feel they have no stories to tell. We've ALL got stories, but sometimes when we're on the spot, it can be tough to come up with them.
Start a running list of stories you can draw on when you need to. Make a note of the story itself, and the big idea behind it. (For example, the big idea behind the story of your first hole-in-one may be perseverance in the face of failure.)
Apply it: Need to get started? Answer questions like: "What was your greatest achievement?" "Which unexpected event changed your life?" "Is there one good/bad choice that affected you for years?" to get your backlog rolling.
4. Switch up your Q&A: What if you didn't just take questions at the end? What if your presentation could feel more like a conversation? Break out of your comfort zone, and embrace the idea of presentation-as-dialogue. It can turn a stodgy information dump into a creative discussion where you get to hear many points of view.
Apply it: There's a whole chapter in Presentation Skills for Managers that can help you with Q&A. But to start on your own, come up with a few ground rules. For example, you can reserve the right to table questions for a later time, even if you field them in the moment. And you'll definitely want to keep your presentation lean and mean time-wise, as a free form Q&A can be a time-eater.
5. Make it a duet: If you're able, why not bring a special guest in to present with you? While this might not be an option for everyone every time, a well-done two person show can create interest for your listeners. Perhaps they may offer an outside perspective, or have hands-on information about upcoming innovations. Whatever they may bring to the table, shaking up the cast can grab your audience's attention.
Apply it: If you decide to deliver a group presentation, make sure you rehearse together ahead of time. There's a potential pitfall to this type of delivery: if you're not both prepared and on the same page about the flow of the proceedings, then you've got two (or more) unsure presenters instead of one. Find at least one time to go through the Rehearsal Process together.
6. Embrace technology, but remember that you're the star of the show: Presentation technology continues to evolve. Beyond just excellent visuals, you can now take a survey in real time, follow a hashtag, and more while you deliver. Lots to spice up a presentation! But remember this: your technology is there to ASSIST you, not present for you. You, the human, are there for a reason. You're still the star of the show.
Apply it: If you want to take advantage of some cool new presentation tech, do it! However, designate places in your presentation where you black out your visuals all together and let the audience focus on you, the presenter. The more you ask your audience to do, the harder it can be for them to zero in on your information. Give them some technological down time.