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10 Presentation Ideas to Capture Your Audience’s Attention

Categories: Business Presentations

Do you have an important presentation coming up? Are you looking for a way to differentiate your presentation from the countless other presentations your audience has likely sat through before?

For the most part, presenters are quick to include data – facts and figures. While presentations need to have these, data typically isn’t what makes a presentation memorable.

We’ve put together an actionable list of ways to improve your presentation and incorporate memorable content into your message.

By incorporating some (or all) of these ideas into your presentation, you’ll be sure to set yourself apart and leave a lasting impression on your audience.

Comprehensive List of Presentation Ideas and Tips

1. Humor: According to Robert Orben, former director of the White House Speech Writing Department, “Business executives and political leaders have embraced humor because humor works. Humor has gone from being an admirable part of a leader’s character to a mandatory one.” Humor is not the same as telling jokes. Unless you are speaking at a comedy club, you’ll want to avoid telling jokes. Not everyone will get the same joke or topical references. Instead, consider what will resonate for your audience and then incorporate humor into your relevant points.

Why you should include humor in your presentations? It will help you ...

  • Connect with your audience and be more likable. The more likable you are, the more you can influence your audience.
  • Keep audience members’ attention — and keep them awake.
  • Disarm hostility. Take the edge off an audience that is clearly hostile toward you.
  • Reduce your status. If you are a senior leader, your position may create a barrier to listening. A little self-effacing humor helps you connect with your audience.
  • Lighten heavy material. The careful use of humor can decrease hostility in response to a difficult message.
  • Help the audience relate to facts and figures. Spice them up with a touch of humor – perhaps even humor about how dry facts and figures can be.
  • Increase retention. In Doctor Joyce Saltman’s doctoral dissertation, Humor in Adult Learning, she concluded, “Most researchers agreed that humor generally aided in the retention of materials…”

2. Personal Anecdotes: Personal anecdotes are great for bonding with an audience, but as always — remember your purpose and the audience's needs. Don't ever ramble on about yourself. If you've got a story to tell, make sure it ties into the theme of your presentation. For example, if your topic is stricter controls in airline baggage handling, you might use your own trials and tribulations as a business traveler waiting for checked sample cases only to receive them opened and with missing items.

3. Stories: People tend to remember stories — that’s why they are so powerful. But you don’t want someone to remember the story without remembering your main message, so make sure that the two are strongly related. Use witty, heartwarming, startling or even alarming stories to illustrate any of your main points. Integrate them smoothly into your talk.

4. Unique Visual Aids or Audio/Visuals: Make the presentation experience more of a multi-sensory event. The more of the five senses that you can include in your presentation, the higher your chances of keeping everyone engaged and learning. Visual aids allow your audience members to "see" places or things they might not otherwise be able to envision. Visuals can also bring statistics to life. You can even include video clips to add variety and bring a message to life.

Example: To illustrate misleading packaging, you might show two cans of tuna, both exactly the same size, but with differing weights. By reading the labels and showing the cans to audience members, they will be able to see as well as hear your point.

5. Comparisons: Comparisons provide similarities, contrasts provide differences. Use them to help audience members relate what they already know to what you want them to know.

6. Statistics: Statistics and other factual data are useful to support your own theories or disprove others. If you are trying to get your neighbors to support a community watch program, show statistics that demonstrate the reduction in crime for city blocks with community patrolling vs. streets without patrols. But use statistics with discretion. Make sure they are poignant and pair them with some of the more colorful ways to share information.

7. Rhetorical Questions: These are questions asked by the presenter, with no answer expected from the audience. They are used to persuade, invite the audience to agree with you, or get your listeners thinking.

Here are a few examples of rhetorical questions to get your audience thinking:

  • “How are you sabotaging your career goals?”
  • “Given how hard you’ve been working – don’t you deserve to be recognized for your contributions?”
  • “Now that you have all the facts comparing the two systems, can you see how this will improve productivity?”
  • “Isn’t this the direction we’ve always wanted to take this company?”

8. Analogies and Metaphors: Analogies and metaphors help people understand new things by creating a link to what they already know.

Here are a couple of examples of analogies:

  • “The building was designed to bend like a tree in high winds.”
  • “When bad publicity goes viral, clients can act like rats deserting a sinking ship.”

Metaphors are more direct than analogies. Rather than comparing two different things, metaphors paint a picture of one thing as if it were actually something else.

For example:

  • "Our new business strategy is an elevator that will take our company to the top floor of our industry."

9. Emotional Appeals: The great presenter, Dale Carnegie, said, "When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic." Some research shows that people make most decisions based on emotion and then justify them with logic. With that data in mind, emotional appeals can be a powerful, persuasive tactic to include in your presentation.

Here are a few examples:

  • “By approving this, patients will have access to the drugs they need ...”
  • “We can’t afford to wait for our competitors to bring this to market first! It’s time to...”

10. Audience Interaction: Look for places where the audience can contribute. Audience interaction encourages the audience to take ownership of the information you are sharing and support action items that you may ask them to do later. Jot down places in your presentation where you might ask for a show of hands or ask questions of the audience.


All of these presentation ideas can enrich a message, making it more memorable — and keep audiences engaged. The more you can incorporate a variety of engagement tactics, the more your message will be understood, absorbed, and appreciated.

If you'd like more information about how to improve your presentation skills or if you have any additional questions that you'd like to discuss with someone in more detail - contact BRODYpro today.

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