1. Focus, focus, focus. As you plan your presentation, think about the top three ideas that you want your audience to walk away with. The next day, they should be able to tell another person, “That session was great! We learned X, Y and Z.”
2. Practice, practice, practice. Many people think that practicing a speech will result in a presentation that seems over rehearsed. In fact, it’s just the opposite. The more you practice the more your speech will come off as relaxed and effortless.
3. Tell a story. When it comes to engaging the audience, telling a good story wins hands down over a barrage of facts and figures. People will remember your message if you illustrate it with short stories about real people.
4. Keep text to a minimum. Rely on your spoken words and powerful, simple visuals to convey your message—this will enhance recall and keep the audience focused on you. If your slides have more than a sentence or a few key phrases, this may indicate you need to narrow your focus.
5. Minimize the number of slides. A rough rule of thumb is to focus on one concept that takes about 2 to 3 minutes to explain per slide.
6. Use authentic visuals. Choose high-quality images that tell a human story and will resonate with your audience’s background, beliefs and environment. Avoid stock photos that look staged. Supplement these with bold infographics and charts, but don’t overwhelm the audience with data.