Understand your audience’s brains

9 March, 2020

We explain why and how your slides should support you, not distract your audience. This is how to understand your audience’s brains. 

If your slides are filled with text, your audience will not be listening to you. PowerPoint slides should support you as a speaker and visually compliment what you are saying. They shouldn’t draw attention away from you, but they also shouldn’t be overlooked as a fantastic resource to help demonstrate your message. Your slides are there to help you convey your ideas in the most effective way possible. 

As with most things with presenting, your audience should be your primary consideration. While words alone can be enough to give an awesome presentation, creating and utilising effective, visually engaging slides is a fantastic way to help improve your audience’s comprehension. The combination of your talk and your slides should provide them with the best chance of understanding your content and message. 

Visual representations

Your slides should be a visual representation of what you’re saying during your presentation. They could display a relevant image, a graphic, or perhaps an icon to enhance what you’re saying verbally. PowerPoint slides provide a useful opportunity to demonstrate something that can’t be explained clearly through words alone.

When you’re talking about your company’s yearly sales report, avoid writing a complex analysis of the data on the slide. Instead, deliver your message in a clear and concise way, whether that be through a simple graph or bold statement. But be warned, overly complex graphs can be as much of a distraction as text. 

If the sales increased by 8%, just write that. Putting too much text or analysis on your slides will only divert your audience’s attention away from you. 

ditch the presentations graphs

Here’s more on the use of graphs in presentations.

Text on slides can be the biggest distraction

The human brain is an incredibly impressive and complex organ, but it has its limits. One of them is that it can’t read and listen at the same time. 

When your audience is presented with text on slides while you are speaking, their brain will start to read by default. And when they’re reading, they’re not listening. 

This is why slides filled with buckets of text or bullet points can be such a massive distraction. By copying all the relevant information from your script onto your slides, you will draw your audience’s attention away from you as they read what’s in front of them.  

To keep the focus on you, your slides should display appropriate imagery, icons or one or two key words to support what you’re saying at the time. There’s no need to write the content from your talk if you’re planning on saying it yourself. 

Read separately, your slides might not make a huge amount of sense. But alongside your speech and the insights you provide, they will help to give your audience the whole picture. 

Your slides are there to support you by demonstrating your message in a clear, visual way. With the perfect harmony between visually stimulating slides and the speech itself, they can help to engage your audience and deliver your message more effectively.

If you need help putting together that killer presentation, get in touch with us today. From expertly designed slides, to damn-clever PowerPoint development, no one does presentations like we do.