To build interest in a topic in an audience which is ready to bolt out the door the second they get a chance may seem like a daunting task but what we are missing out on is the numerous possibilities and opportunities it presents us!
What is a “Boring” Topic?
Lets get this myth out of the way immediately. A topic. Any topic, can never be boring. There are only two ways that it is may seem “boring” either:
- It hasn’t been presented in the right angle.
- It is being presented to the wrong audience.
These are the only two reasons I can think of for a topic being termed as “boring.”
How to Start a Presentation Effectively
At the end of the day, it is all about grabbing the audience’s attention. How do we do that right at the beginning? There are various tricks and tips that we can use, some are listed below!
You could start with a thought provoking or rhetorical question, get the audience thinking and creating their own opinions about your topic before you even begin, this could get them invested and excited about your topic as they begin to compare your presentation to their thoughts and point of view.
Here are a few other ways you can start a presentation:
- Short Story
- Audio / Video / Visual Screening – grab move their attention towards the stage.
- State a shocking or thought provoking fact
- Use powerful quotes
- Small talk – short greeting and expect a reaction from the audience viz.,. nods, gestures, verbal confirmations.
If you are looking to learn more about how to start your killer presentation with the perfect entry, you can check out our video on the same!
How to Make an Exciting Presentation
We are now following the above mentioned assumption that there is no Boring Topic.
Now that, that is out of the way, lets get to checking out the techniques to find the right angle and / or topic for your next killer presentation!
1. Establish a Theme
One major reason we tend to feel bored about a topic is because it becomes repetitive.
Once a speaker establishes a Theme – For example: Hard Work, there seems to be a lot of circling back to it and you may not realise until you hear the first snore that it is becoming a bit to repetitive.
While establishing a theme and sticking through it gives the audience a sort of connecting touch-point to your whole speech lets try to not be completely on the face about it.
1.1. Show Don’t Tell
Some of your might have heard of this technique.
Show, don’t tell is a writing technique used to guide writers to help show the readers an emotion and create an opportunity for them to empathise with the character instead of simply telling the emotion the character is feeling.
This creates a form of connection between the reader and the character and that keeps them hooked onto the story.
This is a great technique which can be used in presentations to avoid repetitiveness.
Once you’ve established a theme with the audience (our current example being: Hard work), all you need to do is show how hard work pays off.
You can do it with anecdotes, a story or just examples throughout your presentation showing the positivity that hard work brings into ones life.
Remember, since we are showing the audience what if feels like to work hard, our main goal is to avoid the word “hard work” and wield our examples, and other additions to our presentations as weapons to get the message across.
1.2. How to Establish a Theme?
While we’ve spoken a lot on what to do after establishing a theme, lets give some time to figuring out how to establish a theme in the first place!
1. Through the Title
A great way to be clear about your theme and avoid any confusion is title your presentation in a very direct sense.
For Example: Hard Work Pays Off And Why
This gives away the theme clearly to the audience and they know what you mean whenever you try to make metaphorical jokes! Bye Bye Blank Stares!
2. In the End
Another option would be give out your theme in the end.
One perk with this is that you could build suspense try to keep the audience guessing until the very end, and once you mention the theme, everything else about your presentation suddenly clicks and the audience suddenly sees your whole presentation in a new, more relevant angle.
Or you can direct your presentation to well rounded off moral that the audience kind of sees coming and is proud when they guess correctly.
Either way, it is a win-win!
Storytelling is a great and sure – fire way to get your presentation the applause it deserves!
Storytelling is the technique which speakers use to liven up their speeches / presentations while using other public speaking techniques to add to the flare.
Storytelling could be extremely effective if your topic is one which can be turned into a moral or has a strong take home value.
There are various tools like voice modulation and tonality, body language and expressions, stage usage and so many others that play a major role in the effective delivery of a story.
Check out our video on Storytelling to get a fair idea about the same!
3. Build your Presentation Skills.
An exciting presentation needs to be structured well and appropriately organised. Lets figure out how to make a solid presentation.
3.1. How to make a good presentation?
First things, first, you need to figure out the structure of your presentation. If you have your speech ready, you can use that as an outline or work on the topics you want to cover and try to make them as systematic and chronological as possible.
Your presentation needs to be formal, yet fun, simple, yet colourful and there might be many other conditions set for an effective presentation, we are not here to remind you of that nightmare, we’re here to help. 🙂
The easiest way through this is to pick out 3-4 colours that complement each other, make sure they are soft and not extremely bright.
If you find that a template would be easier, there are multiple sites that provide you with templates for various types of presentations. Here are some popular ones:
Once you have your colours ready you can add infographics, (templates usually have a slide dedicated to them, so do multiple sites.)
A good presentation should be both engaging and at the same time self-explanatory. Self – explanatory presentations are a great asset, because if for any reason someone needs your presentation for reference, it would be easy to understand.
Another cool feature in presentations are flow charts and other infographics. Infographics are a great tool when you need to keep things concise and to the point. You can also add avatars and other animations in your presentation if you are going to be engaging a younger crowd or will be presenting in a more informal set up.
Check out our article to work on your presentation skills!: 5 Presentation Tools To Use With Multimedia Presentations
Apart from your presentation making skills there are a few others things you should focus on while presenting.
3.2. How do I present?
Once you have your presentation ready, lets get working on your delivery.
Some accessories which I find really cool is a laser pointer and a remote to switch slides. If the organising committee is providing them, JUMP ON THAT OPPORTUNITY, or if you find them as cool as I do, you can always invest in one!
Know that all the points in your presentation while self-explanatory are still just points and the audience is relying on you to elaborate on them. Those points are only there for your reference.
Check out this video to help you understand and work on your presentation skills:
4. Explain with Examples
Examples are an extremely important tool. They help build a connection with the topic and at the same time help us remember.
Companies need to be held responsible for their actions and accountable of the effect it has on its customers.
Companies need to be held responsible for their actions and accountable of the effect it has on its customers.
Let’s take the McDonald’s Coffee Case. For the ones who don’t know, McDonald’s keep their coffee at an extremely high temperature to make sure they don’t go cold before someone has ordered it.
The temperature is so high that a woman suffered 3rd Degree burns and was hospitalised.
This is how we know that McDonald’s coffee isn’t just hot, it is unsafe to consume hot.
Do you think they should be held accountable for the burns that woman faced?
Taking an example which is easy to relate to and understand helps the audience follow where you are leading them.
The sentence in itself was complete, and would’ve have been okay, but adding an example of coffee – something everyone knows about and a company that is well known piques their interest because who doesn’t love controversies and very “in the news” cases like this one?
(Bonus points if someone in the audience knows this case – this will make them more interested because it is something they already know something about and want to listen to know how that case relates to the topic.)
Apart from getting people excited and interested about your topic, you can also build engagement by asking their opinion about the example / situation.
This brings out different perspectives and opinions and keeps them interested in your presentation.
Taking breaks during presentation could be a welcome change and give you and your audience a chance to freshen up and organise thoughts.
Now hold on. I don’t mean getting up, grabbing a cup of coffee, few finger sized sandwiches and coming back. Not only would this break your flow but also affect your audience’s attention span.
Breaks could be anything from a recap, Q&A session, games and so much more, keeping you in the spotlight and focus while engaging the audience.
Take a few minutes to recap what you have said so far goes a long way when trying to deliver a technical topic. It helps you catch a breath, and mentally form a path in your head to line up the next topics.
You can even create a specific slide at intervals that show the topics covered so far!
Having a Question and Answer session at intervals benefits both you and the audience.
They don’t have to wait until the end of your presentation and maybe forget the questions they might’ve had and you don’t need to go back all the way to that one point when a question is asked. You can time the questions so that they don’t cut into your speaking time much.
You can also fuse recaps with Q&A sessions to make sure no one gets left behind.
Showing this inclusivity might help encourage your audience to pay attention and gives a chance to those who got lost to catch up and refocus their energy!
Everyone loves games! Especially if you are in a room with a presentation going on, you could always use a break from the monotony.
Games could be quick exercises like worksheets or puzzles in their workbooks or quick quizzes to randomly jolt up the energy of the room.
I personally like maintaining a running joke and add it in intervals just to help the audience remember and come back to the present after their stroll through day-dreamland.
Examples of Games that can be played during a presentation
1. Jigsaw Puzzles
This is a great idea for both virtual and offline set-ups.
If you want your audience to remember a particular image or topic, you can create a jigsaw puzzle (various sites help you with that) and simply take a break while they try to solve it.
You can create it into a competition just to liven things up!
A quick an easy way to make your audience remember a concept and increase their engagement.
Lets say your topic is fruits.
You can ask an audience member to choose a fruit, eg: Watermelon. The next one now needs to say the previous fruit and add their own new fruit. eg: Watermelon, Apple.
3. Crosswords / Find the Words
These types of games are a hit among juniors and seniors alike!
You can create your own crosswords or find the words games with various sites online and share a link on your virtual platform or print them out and send it across to the audience seated in front of you!
How to make virtual presentations more engaging?
The pandemic is real and as much as we can try moving on from that fact, we have shifted into a digital world and this digital audience is even more difficult to grab the attention of. However, we’ve figured out a few ways to make a topic seem interesting and your presentations more engaging!
Even in virtual platforms that limit your access to tools like stage usage and body language, you can always count on visuals and reactions to keep the audience attentive and engaged!
You could do so much! Screen videos, show images and flow charts, share itineraries, ask for feedback and reactions and with a little more exploring, this list could be endless!
2. Involve the Audience
There is nothing more engaging in getting to call the shots in someone else’s presentation while you sit and watch what effect you have made in that. I have found the following two ways to be extremely effective in getting the audience interested about your topic.
Taking a poll about any segment in your presentation and reviewing them with your audience creates an opportunity to learn not only for the audience but for you as well!
You may see some completely new perspectives and it is okay to admit that it is a new point of view to you and thank the people who have provided it, on the other hand the audience gets to see their opinion on screen and being discussed and understood.
This technique has been inspired form the children’s book: Goosebumps (giving credit where it is due always is a good practice)
The audience gets to choose what happens next. You can create your presentation to be a form of situation and then as each step / segment comes by, you can ask someone from the audience to choose what to do next and review those results and go back to the alternative and review those results as well.
This will create an immersive environment for the audience and you’ll be a hit!
Various Topic Ideas
After so many ideas being bounced about and pitched, you might be stumped about which topic to choose. Below is a list of the topics that have been considered interesting and can perk someone’s ear up at the mention of it. Hope it helps!
- The Human Brain
- The Romantic Era / English Literature
- How To Stay Productive During A Pandemic
- Gender Identity And Sexual Orientation – How They Are Different.
- The Importance Of Inclusivity
- Mental Health And How To Work On Yourself
- Pets And Your Relationship
- The History Of A Particular Topic
- Beauty Standards And Its Acceptance By All Genders
- A Detailed Presentation On A Controversy – Eg: The Illuminati
A boring topic doesn’t exist because what might be unamusing to A might be the most profound piece of information in existence to B.
The key here is to find your interest in the topics you present and project that interest to the audience when you deliver. The methods above are simply tools and some can not be used all the time; understand that a little bit of nervousness is good. It keeps you on your toes.
What you can do is work on yourself, hydrate, practice and know your material. Excitement and interest is contagious, use the above tools as a catalyst and you will get a positive reaction.
Good luck! 🙂