Business Presentations That Don’t Put Your Audience to Sleep

Here’s a statistic for you to think about: 80%, that’s four out of five, of employees in the United States are bored at work. Think about that. Choose any four people you know in your company. Of the five of you, only one feels stimulated and satisfied in his or her job.

That has huge ramifications for you as a presenter. It means that you have a responsibility to make sure that you don’t contribute to the problem. Yet, we’ve all attended business presentations that were a cure for insomnia. Do yours fit in that category? 

Business Presentations that Keep Your Audience Engaged

Boring business presentations have certain things in common. If you do these things, you can rest assured that your audience will have no problem catching up on their much needed sleep. Here’s how to be certain your audience stays awake during your business presentations. 

1. Don’t talk for hours

Think of a presentation as an extended elevator speech or a journey between bus stops. 

Education psychologists have demonstrated time and again that the optimum length of time to teach anyone, anything, is . . . 10 minutes! That’s how long you can expect to engage your listeners. Yes. You read that correctly. You can talk for 10 minutes. Then people need to have the opportunity to process what you’ve said, chat with the person next to them. This applies to business presentations too. 

Then you have another 10 minutes to talk again before you must give them time to process what you’ve said. And as it says on the bottle: rinse, repeat. 

2. Have a clear structure

The short period of time you have to engage your audience means you must carefully structure your business presentation. You must know exactly what message you want to get across and deliver it as succinctly as possible. But presenters who aren’t concerned about the time that people will stay engaged usually ignore the structure of what they have to say as well. 

And so they drift from one topic to another. If your presentation wanders, you’ll put your captive audience into a coma.

3. Provide a take-away

Imagine you’re on the bus and you have 10 minutes before the next stop. When it stops, the doors will open and 29 people will jostle past you. The spell will be broken. What is the one message that you want your audience to take-away before they get off? 

That’s your goal for each 10 minutes segment. Each segment should have a clear take-away that you want your audience to remember before you lose their attention when the bus stops. 

Follow these three tips to make your business presentations engaging. Otherwise, bring your alarm clock.