Every ad agency presentation needs to focus on capturing and keeping your audience’s ATTENTION.
Keeping your audience’s attention is the rule that matters the most.
If you want to reach your audience, you must have something significant to say and be passionate. Genuine passion will attract attention and attention will lead to action.
A lot of agency presentations are nothing but recycled insights or predictable services. They use the same agency speak with nothing note worthy or memorable. The audience is bored out of their minds. How many new business opportunities were squandered because of boring ad agency presentations?
What can you do to keep the audience’s attention through your entire presentation?
Chris Atherton, an applied cognitive psychologist, a self-described dork of attentionomics, suggests these 7 specific rules of attention:
- People can really only retain about four bits of new, unrelated information — and sometimes not even that many.
- It’s hard to process spoken and written words at the same time. Integrating your spoken words with pictorial slides makes it easier for the brain to process these two streams of information efficiently.
- A story will keep people’s attention, because they will want to know what happens next.
- People really like looking at screens. If you’ve ever been in a pub with the TV on and the sound off, you’ll realize that screens are attention-magnets. Screens have become an important element at college and pro sporting arenas.
- Sustaining audience attention requires frequent changes. Unexpectedness is a great tool for acquiring and maintaining people’s attention as well as changes in your tone of voice, speaking volume, or where you are standing to draw the audience’s attention to a particular point.
- Your audience will tell you when their attention is wandering. It’s a kindness and a courtesy to stay with your audience. A presenter on auto-pilot is not a pretty sight.
- Chris’s last rule, short is good.
Here are some additional rules of attention that I would add to Chris’s list:
- Use a remote. I take one with me to every presentation. It is a great tool to keep me from losing eye contact.
- Don’t use the podium. I tend to have less energy and am less engaging when I use a podium. I like to move when presenting. My presentations are much more animated without the barrier of a podium.
- Less text on the screen is more. People can read faster than you can speak. I find that using images and telling stories allows me to keep my audience’s attention better. I want to be so engaged that my audience doesn’t want to break eye contact, even to take notes.
- The fewer slides, the better. Some of my best presentations were less than 10 slides.
- Get into a flow. I’m a student of cadence, the use of rhyme and repetition like the style of the old-time ministers. Their delivery style excited their congregants with memorable effectiveness.
- Passion is more important than perfection. I strive to make my presentations inspirational, not flawless. Passion garners attention and will enthuse your confidence.
- Know your environment. I almost always ask permission to view in advance where my meeting will be held. Recently when reviewing a banquet hall an hour before presenting, I asked permission to make my presentation from a different spot. The speakers podium, set-up to the left of the stage, wasn’t as engaging as a smaller stage closer to the audience and located near the center of the banquet room. For major agency presentations, I would make an onsite visit in advance, take notes and snap photos of the room. I’d share this info with my presentation team in advance of the pitch.
During the course of my career, I’ve spoken over 1,000 times in workshops, conferences, seminars and other events. But, I still want to constantly improve upon my speaking skills.
Helpful Presentation Articles:
- Boring Presentation Decks Kill Ad Agency New Business
- How to Build a Powerful Presentation Deck for Ad Agency New Business
- How to stop information overload in your presentation
I encourage you to read Chris Atherton’s article, When giving presentations, the only rule that matters is the rule of attention.