Presentation Pauses & Structure

How many presentation skills training courses have you been on?  It’s possibly the most common kind of sales-y training non-reps go on.   There’s positively oodles of tips around the web, and to add to that surfeit, here’s three hints I took when hearing an explanation of just such a course, in this case aimed at IT propeller-heads trying to sell their ideas within oil behemoth Shell.

The 3 Second Pause

After you make a point you want to emphasise, you should pause for 3 seconds.  The idea is that for an audience to take long-term notice of your point, you must get through their mental filter.  This can be a barrier which stops things from progressing beyond a mere short-term memory to a long-term one.  And the theory is that pausing for 3 seconds will allow it to register in the long-term part of their brains.  Count out 3 seconds aloud . . . long time isn’t it?

Talk Over Their Heads

Not in the sense of talk technobabble or being condescending, but in where you fix your gaze.  Apparently you’ll get greater engagement if your sight line is just above the audience’s heads.

Trio Structure

Once, a long time ago, I had some pals that went on a presentation course working for a huge brewer and pub operator called Bass.  I remember being baffled that their trainer had recommended each slide should have 7 points on it.  In Shell’s case, their trainer suggested that each point must have 3 parts to its structure.  This sounds better than the Bass idea.

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