There are around 500 million PowerPoint users in the world and a projected 30 million presentations are going on right now – most of them; unbearable.
OK, there’s no denying slideshows have their place. For small meetings and short turnaround presentations they can be a life saver.
After all, there are times when we all need a quick graph or bullet point list to get our message across. When designed and animated well, and taking into account the golden rule of ‘more imagery, less text’, a slideshow can provide a good visual aid to support message-recall.
It’s when you start to get in front of larger audiences or need to conduct longer meetings or events that you run the risk of your delegates becoming victims of ‘Death by PowerPoint’.
These days people are time poor and have a buzzing inbox living right there in their pockets. Grabbing and maintaining people’s attention isn’t easy and you need to work hard to stand out.
Some interesting research into the way people learn, shows that just 5% of information people retain comes from what they take in from a speech, that jumps up to 20% when people are learning from audio visual presentation and 50% when people take part in group discussions.
What’s really fascinating however is that between 70-90% of the information people take in comes from the times when people are allowed to practice and touch information as soon as they receive it.
It’s a pretty simple theory really and the numbers speak for themselves; slideshows are everywhere and these people have seen it all before! It’s time to try something new, tangible and experiential.
Conferences and events need to offer something more if they’re going to achieve communication goals. There’s nothing exciting about experiencing ‘the same old thing’ so when considering conference content, it’s important to keep the traditional slideshow presentations to a minimum and try exploring other ways to really engage your audience and bring your messages to life.
One concept to consider is transforming some of your sessions into an interactive exhibition whereby audiences get the chance to touch and feel physical representations of your message.
By talking with people from your team and experiencing your brand first-hand, the chance of your delegates digesting and retaining information is greatly increased, not to mention the whole experience becoming a lot more enjoyable for everyone.
The focus should be on creating experiences, events that allow your delegates to discover information for themselves, become part of the day and shape their own agenda.
Another powerful tool to consider is video.
Clever brands that have spotted the trend of engaging audiences with video, have helped the video marketing industry deliver 63% year on year growth in the last few years and predictions show that video will count for nearly 70% of all online consumption by 2017.
Impactful video can help add drama, music and theatre to live events, especially when shown on a large screen, with a killer sound system.
As with video; interactive mobile and tablet apps can help you bring the kind of tools people are used to experiencing in their everyday lives to your communications events, making your brand and message feel relevant to your audiences.
There are a number of conference and exhibition apps on the market, coming in all shapes and sizes and covering a variety of budgets. Some of the features include voting, polling, Q&A, digital agendas, push notifications, instant messaging and contact exchange, but there’s also the opportunity to develop bespoke features to fit your messaging and communications requirements.
These are just a few of the ideas without even touching things like role-play, holograms, dance and even magic!
The point is, with so many options for engaging audiences, there’s no excuse for doing the same old thing.
If the sanity or attention span of your audience hasn’t got you considering a different approach, then consider this; the only experience more painful than sitting through a boring presentation is giving a boring presentation, looking out to a crowd of smartphone thumb-twiddlers and stifled yawns can be confidence-knocking and hugely disheartening.
If a concept is worth presenting, it’s worth presenting effectively. So take the pledge and give these ideas a try. Let us know which ones you liked the most!