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KISS your presentation: Keep it simple for impactful presentations

We’ve all been to a presentation that’s been a flop. A speech that was too quiet, or poorly articulated, a deluge of jargon, or a ‘style-over-substance’ bore. Delivering quality presentations is important, with a survey by Prezi of American workers finding 70% of people think presentations are important to their career success.

But what’s the best way to avoid making the sort of mistakes that send your audience into a slumber, or worse have them talking down your performance after they’ve left the room?

The answer may lie in that age-old adage – ‘Keep it Simple Stupid’. By KISSing your presentation, you can avoid some classic presentation mistakes – too confusing, too many slides, too many bells and whistles and, too boring.

Keep your premise simple

The first key to a successful presentation is having a clear and simple aim. What specific point, or points are you trying to get across to your audience?

Not only will your audience find it difficult to follow a presentation that isn’t constructed on simple, clear points, it’ll be even harder for you to deliver. Use your introduction to summarise your key arguments, signpost and refer to your key points throughout. This will help you keep your audience engaged and your presentation on track.

While it’s useful to be able to improvise as you speak, having a well-defined structure will give your points clarity and your arguments fluidity.

If you need to be reminded of what not to do, try to recall that wedding speech by the proverbial Uncle Cyril’s…a 45-minute recitation of your cousin’s life from birth to 32, with details offered in no particular order. No one in their right mind would be lining up for a rerun of that unruly and unpredictable speech

Keep your language simple

It’s easy to forget that your listeners are probably not as expert in the topic that you are presenting as you are. Undoubtedly that’s why they are in the audience, but many presenters lose their audiences through unnecessary jargon, or overly complicated language.

Whether you’re delivering a simple presentation to a public audience or talking to industry experts, you should still choose the most straightforward language through which to deliver your message. By eliminating overly embellished language and technical talk, you will be able to convey more information, more easily to your audience.

Keep your slides simple

Multimedia presentation aids are more responsive, more interactive and more engaging than ever before. However, while these tools can be a powerful aid to your presentation, it’s important to remember that the whizz-bangery should never, ever overpower your message and your ideas.

Use simple multimedia tools to reinforce your key points and aid your storytelling or argument making. Don’t crowd your presentation with text or load your audience up with slides. Remember that you want the audience to concentrate on what you’re saying, not what’s happening behind you.

Keep it Simple Stupid

Presentations can be daunting, but by keeping your presentation simple, clear and direct, you can KISS your fears goodbye.