5 Ways to Make a Dry Presentation Come Alive

When you begin your presentation with disclaimers like, “This is pretty dry stuff,” and sarcasm such as, “I’m sure you’re dying to know about this,” you not only come across as weak, but the disclaimers are often self-fulfilling.

If  you believe your material will bore people, you might tend to rush through the presentation, make jokes to apologize for the content. You imply, “Sorry to put you through this—I think my presentation is boring, too.”

A TED talk complete with statistics, laughs and sword swallowing!

If you are convinced that your material is too analytical to be interesting, watch Hans Rosling give his amazing talk at TED back in 2007.

He uses stories about his great-great-grandmother, grandmother, mother, daughter and granddaughter to bring the social and economic change in the world to life.  He also manipulates and animates the data in a wildly creative way.

Oh, and his finale is sword swallowing, but don’t feel you have to add that to your presentation.

An accountant who held the room

Recently I heard an accountant speak to a group of her professional peers. She held the attention of the entire room with the idea that the future economy depended upon leading a different kind of conversation at the grass roots level, where they worked with clients.

Your topic has the electricity of your invested interest if you’ll only use it. We are counting on you to make your presentation interesting, regardless of our own initial level of interest in the topic.

Tips for making your subject interesting

Consider these tips for a dynamic presentation:

  1. Be authentic by telling us what you’re excited about and why—in plain English
  2. Use metaphors, illustrations and stories about real people to demonstrate key points
  3. Add big-picture meaning that will make the information relevant to us
  4. Speak from your experience and your essential knowledge of the material
  5. Settle for nothing less than vibrant visuals that help develop understanding

Stop assuming that we will be bored with your material. There are no boring topics, only boring presenters.

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Avatar for Lou Solomon

Lou Solomon

Lou Solomon is the founder of Interact. She is a TEDx speaker and a member of the adjunct faculty at the McColl School of Business at Queens University of Charlotte. Her articles have appeared in Harvard Business Review, Entrepreneur.com, CEO.com, and Fast Company.