As I work with senior executives in strengthening their executive presence, one of the exercises we often do is mock presentation sessions. During one of the mentoring sessions, I realised presentations have evolved so much and tried to list the trends that are gaining significance. Successful presentations in the near future will need to have the following elements

Audience engagement

As the workplace becomes more and more collaborative, the need to present to people in groups small and large will increase. The attention span of people is coming down though. Your presentations will be far more effective if your audience is engaged. The days of the monologue are long gone. Think about what techniques will work best for your audience. How can you make it more interactive? By using technology? Or maybe interesting pictures? Polling them? I was serving on a panel recently and continuously polling the audience by asking them to raise their hands to learn about the broad backgrounds kept them energised. They felt part of the process.

Compelling story telling

Stories personal or otherwise that resonate with us and compel us to feel are remembered the most. Successful presentations must have stories woven into them. It often seems like a daunting task to remember stories; however sometimes the most mundane of events can be told like a story with visualisation. Another interesting tactic is to describe a moment associated with an account with vivid description. Narrate it then with clarity, conviction, and empathy. An engaging narrative piques interest and adds expectation and anticipation to presentations. It brings plain dull content to life.

Pictures that hook you

Using images that are inspiring, oversized, unusual or funny support making the message memorable. Choose visual images that convey power, are unforgettable or invoke emotions that resonate with audiences far better than the usual cookie cutter stock photos. Pictures depicting reality and authenticity grab our attention and make us more open to acceptance. They also add more credibility to the presentation.

Use of technology and AR and VR

Especially in large scale events with big audience sizes, non-traditional presentations methods are now getting popular, leveraging more installation art vs. projection. What is getting much attention is digital arrays and projection mapping onto stunning 3D objects. One of the emerging trends is using virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to create immersive experiences for the audience. I have recently attended conferences where individual apps are designed that are built around the event theme or the main stage presentations. Large scale interactive methodologies are used to keep the audiences engaged. Breakout nano sessions on specific topics of interest makes the interaction more targeted to individual audience needs.

Minimalism will rule

An unnecessarily busy presentation that overloads the senses with information will not be tolerated. In spite of all the technology and because of an overload of knowledge available today, minimalistic design is even more appealing. The brevity and conciseness of the message, while minimising the mundane distractions is what most audiences want to experience. This is respectful of everyone's time and energy and limits the audience’s focus on the most crucial aspects. While the visuals are essential, they must not pull away from the core message. Simple and clean designs with no unnecessary fluff will enhance the conversations with the audience.

Clarity is king

Going forward information and data alone will not be enough. Understanding data and communicating the relevant information in a way people will be able to use it efficiently and act on the findings. In 2019 people will realise the necessity of communicating clearly and effectively through a combination of data and story.

Great presentations will be a marriage between data and theatre. One without the other will either be boring or feel fake. In 2019, the presenters that not only embrace that space but innovate on the interplay of the two will be our next great persuaders.

Bhavna Dalal
Bhavna Dalal

The views expressed in this article are not those of Fortune India

The author is the founder and CEO of Talent Power Partners a global Leadership Development company based in Bangalore. She is a Leadership Development Specialist, an ICF Certified Executive Coach [PCC] and author of the book - Team Decision Making.

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