Instructional design helps people learn. It does this by taking into account how people learn from different media. This is called the cognitive theory of multimedia learning. One of the key ideas of this theory is that we have separate channels for processing verbal material and visual material. Each channel is limited in the amount it can process.
Even strong speakers can undercut a whole presentation with multiple endings, or a few seconds of wobbly indecision at the end. Those last few seconds amount to the last important picture people remember of you.
I ask people who download my presentation planning guide what they find hardest about presenting. Here are some of the answers:
- Being concise
- Finishing on time
- Fitting everything into the allotted time
- Finding a balance between presenting too much and too little
- Not giving too much info.
Whenever you introduce a new slide, stop talking, turn to the screen and look at it. If the slide is animated, allow the animation to complete its full course of action. (For more about PowerPoint animation, please see my blog, "Animation and the Presenter.") During your pause, look at the image as if you have never seen it, giving your audience time to see it, because they most certainly never have. At that moment, you and your audience fall into lock step.
Presentations and reports are ways of communicating ideas and information to a group. But unlike a report, a presentation carries the speaker's personality better and allows immediate interaction between all the participants.
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