Before you even think that the effectiveness of a presentation is entirely subjective and vary from one person to another, you should know that not all are purely biased or based on opinions. Science also has a say in determining whether or not your presentation will give the impact you desire.
Here are 3 scientific rules that can influence the outcome of your presentation and what own rules you should follow while preparing for presentation:
#1: The rule of sensory and memory capacity:
Psychology finds that on the average, we can memorize a maximum of 7 digits only at a single time. Now, put these numbers or data people can see on PowerPoint while listening to you talk about additional data will definitely lead to cognitive overload. Imagine 7 bullet points of distinct information on the screen while you’re also adding further information as you explain. Don’t be surprised if you end up getting confused, blank stares. Seeing multiple texts and hearing info at the same time can be overwhelming.
So rule #1, before people would rather take a bullet than read any more of your bullet points, stop adding bullet points in your slides. Keep details to a minimum per slide.
#2: The rule of visual superiority:
Forget tactile or auditory learning. When it comes to absorbing information, pictures still rule (aside from being able to paint a “thousand words”). Studies show that people can remember only 10% of what the presenter said compared to 65% of what the presenter showed through a visual after 3 days. That’s 6.5 times more impact for you just using graphics and images.
So rule #2, use less text and more pictures that supplement what you’re going to say.
#3: The rule of reading speed vs. listening:
Haven’t you noticed when watching a film with subtitles, you can finish reading the subtitles long before the character has finished speaking? No, you’re not a fast reader. It’s just a scientific fact that people read faster than they hear. Research shows people can read 275 words per minute as opposed to just hearing 150 words in a minute.
So rule #3, don’t use your slides as a teleprompter of what you’re going to say. People will be able to read them ahead of you anyway and may be able to doze off even before you finish your last sentence.
What other rules with scientific basis can you think of to turn a dull presentation into an amazing one? Let us know through your comments below.