Want to be a “Sticky” presenter focus on making your communication visible and tangible

We have reviewed and explained how to use the R.A.T.E.R. checklist  tool for more effective and “sticky” presentations in another blog on the Wick

R. Relevant to experience and daily lives of participants. Tap into their needs and wants. Meet their expectations to learn something they can use.

A. Assurance that your ideas have merit and basis in fact and experience–make your case evidence based with best practices woven in to emotional solutions.

T. Create a message that is Tangible ( concrete, specific and practical) not a high level theory. Keep message simple. appeals to sensory and visual needs of the audience. Let them discover the answers. Make the message tangible or concrete by using physical objects and specific fact-based evidence.

E. Focus on showing empathy and understanding of the audience POV by telling emotional and feeling stories. Meet expectations and tap into members experience through involvement and interaction.

R. Be responsive to audience questions, skepticism and challenges.  Use CPR technique (clarify mis-understandings, paraphrase and restate audience comments and input, reflect audience feelings and degree of support or disagreement) and active listening to connect with the audience. For example, when you are asked  for opinion deflect question to the group to stimulate discussion and generate ideas. Then summarize comments and agreements/disagreements  before giving your expert advise or opinions on the topic being discussed.

In the book Made to Stick, the Heath brothers argue that concreteness or tangibility “helps us understand– it helps us construct… insights on the building blocks of our existing knowledge and perceptions.” They suggest that tangible or concrete ideas “stick” better and are easier to remember and spreed to others. Nothing lends concreteness to ideas more obviously than the use of  physical objects or specific scientific-based  evidence.

A physical object is something tangible that the presenter brings forward to show and let them touch during the presentation—it can be a book, rock, picture or factual idea. The reason to use one is if its presence lends more concreteness and provides more interaction and discussion to your presentation. Does the physical object make something clear that is confusing? Does the a tangible provide and reinforce a visual explanation of something abstract? Does the physical model or fact  make your presentation more grounded in reality rather than theory? Use it only if you answered yes to those three questions. Don’t use a physical object or concrete fact in a casual way. Use it as a center piece of your presentation to connect and engage the audience.

Make it Memorable

Now in order to be an idea virus or something audience members will want to go out and tell others about you must also make your message memorable, clear, concise and compelling. Demonstrations, physical object and startling facts can create some of the most dynamic, memorable moments in a presentation. Audiences are very likely to remember the prop you used, and what you did with it, so don’t stumble in your presentation or your risk will not be worth the benefit you were seeking. Ensure that your tangible object has a dynamic, unforgettable purpose in your presentation. If there’s a chance it’s going to be perceived as a gimmick or fall flat with the audience, or its purpose is not relevant enough to the topic at hand, don’t use it.

When presentations disappoint, one cause most likely starts with a failure to recognize that presentations are two-way communication processes and that boredom comes quickly when audience members get lost on too much information or you have not painted or provide reality based tangibles for the audience members to engage and interact with.

Consider ways a Tangible can strengthen and intensify your presentation. If you’re speaking about a device, it’s fitting to show the audience the device at the beginning of your pitch. If you’re reporting a statistic, it’s very effective to make the visual “stick” by bring out a tangible object. Be creative! Have fun with it. And take the risk to enhance your performance and message please share your stories with the rest of the Wick Community.


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