Even in business, great ideas can shape the future. Memorable speeches touch minds and hearts. But to be remembered, you must entertain and engage. Don’t just present your ideas. Instead, tell your story. Communicate in a way that resonates with your audience.
Employ the following strategies to make your next presentation more memorable.
1. Research your topic.
State supporting evidence in a memorable and easy-to-understand manner. The more you know, the more confidence you will have to deliver your message and navigate tough questions.
2. Be relatable.
Create an emotional connection with your audience by including humor and personal stories. Evoke an emotion that will create a relatable experience for each person. For example, when I give a presentation, I always share a few etiquette lessons I learned from my mother. Most everyone in my audience can relate by remembering a time when their mother taught them an important etiquette lesson.
3. Keep it simple.
The idea of your talk needs to be straightforward, understandable and repeatable. Make a strong, clear statement about your idea and what you believe. Ensure every aspect of your message addresses and reinforces that idea. Don’t overcomplicate your speech with too many facts and figures. Too much data may distract or confuse your audience.
4. Know your audience.
Tailor your speech to the group of people to which you’ll be speaking. Use appropriate terms, jargon and acronyms. Research the background, interests and challenges of your audience.
5. Keep it real.
Be authentic and open during your talk. Your audience will better relate to you if you look relaxed and not over-rehearsed. Use self-deprecating humor when appropriate.
6. Use visuals wisely.
Videos, graphics, photos and other visuals can help get your idea across and also help your audience remember your message. In his 2010 TED Talk, Jamie Oliver dumped a wheelbarrow full of sugar cubes on stage to demonstrate how sugar contributes to the childhood obesity epidemic. Any visuals you use should buttress your message.
7. Slow down.
If you speak too fast, others may struggle to understand what you’re saying. Take your time and speak more slowly than usual. Breathe between sentences and utilize pregnant pauses for powerful emotional effect. Even a brief pause will allow the audience to digest what you’ve said before you move on.
8. Keep it short.
Unless you are the keynote speaker at an event, try to keep your presentation to twenty minutes or less. Even if you’re given a longer time slot, don’t be tempted to fill the time with unnecessary information. Deliver the speech you want to give and then wrap up. People will never complain if you start on time and end a little early.
9. Share an 'a-ha' moment.
Talk about a moment when everything shifted or changed for you; when you discovered your idea or realized that a change needed to be made.
10. Write a strong closing.
An emotional conclusion can have a powerful, long-lasting impact on audiences. Briefly review your main point and tell those to whom you’re speaking what they can do next. A call to action will help galvanize your audience and inspire others to join you.