PowerPoint is one of the most used presentation tools in the world. Just like me, I am sure, many of you have had to attend more than one too many boring presentations. I believe the time has come to change this. It is high time to start creating vibrant presentations to generate happy audiences as well as happy presenters. How you can achieve this when using PowerPoint? To provide good answers, I am interviewing experts from all over the world who also long for ending the era called Death by PowerPoint.
This time, I will let Eamonn O’Brien do the talking. Literally, because in this blog I added video fragments of our interview. Eamonn is a true storyteller. He helps people to speak more memorable and he is an expert in telling better stories to make every presentation more interesting. He also is the writer of the Amazon Bestseller: How to make Powerful Speeches and is the founder of the Reluctant Speakers Club.
You might have heard the advice before to use stories when speaking. To me, it seemed a good starting point for this interview.
Why are stories important while speaking?
Eamonn believes telling stories is the best tool available to engage your audience with your message. Watch this video to hear Eamonn speak about why it is useful for you to tell stories whenever you want to share an idea.
Storytelling is a powerful combination of education and entertainment. The telling of a story slows everything right down, which creates a lot more space for reflection. This way, your audience will remember your message better and you can achieve more when you speak.
What does PowerPoint add to storytelling?
When you are as good as a storyteller as Eamonn, you don’t actually need PowerPoint. That doesn’t mean it can’t be a good addition to also be able to show your story. Eamonn gives a good example when I ask him about the images he uses when telling a story. He shows me a picture of a saleswoman in a clothes shop. She is the main character in one of his stories. It is of great value for the audience to not only hear about this person, but also see her in her surroundings. This way audience really gets sucked in into the story. This only works when you use pictures which really give meaning to your story.
Where can you find good images?
Good images are incredibly powerful, but it can be quite difficult to find them. Eamonn’s advice is to use as many of your own images as possible. Whenever you are out and about, look around you and take pictures of things and situations you think might come in handy one day. Do you experience something special? Take a picture! Whenever you want to tell about this special moment, you will have a picture to go with it. Then, your audience will be able to step into your shoes easily. This will strengthen the connection between the story and you as the speaker. The standard stock photo’s you can find on the internet often lack this effect. This is why Eamonn advices against the use of these images.
Do you want to know what images Eamonn suggests for one of my stories? Watch this video.
Whenever Eamonn presents, he uses a maximum of 7 to 9 images. If you give your audiences to many ideas, they will not be able to remember them all.
What makes a good text?
Besides images, you can also add text to your slides. There are many different opinions on the use of text on slides. This is why I am curious for Eamonn’s opinion on the matter. He believes that is you use many words on a slide, your audience will be drawn to it like moths to a flame and they will immediately start reading it without being able to remember it all. On the contrary! Whenever a new slide appears, you can count on the fact that 99% of the information of the previous text-filled slide will already be forgotten. Use just a few words in an active tone. A sentence like ‘Go and look for the right image’ is more activating than ‘Good images are important’. Think about it.
So, we seem to be able to remember stories better than facts and details. We remember things in a visual way because our long term memory doesn’t use words but images. This is why we can easier connect to something which we can also see, instead of only hear. All of this makes the combination of storytelling and the use of PowerPoint all the more worth it.
Do you want to present with more results? Frowa Schuitemaker is an expert on professionally connecting with audiences by using PowerPoint and how to speak with more long-term impact. She is the creator of the concept PowerPoint Intelligence.