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Presenting to large audiences, part II

Keep Calm & keep it simple

Last week, we told you the basics of presenting to a large audience. This week, we'll elaborate on the subject and give you some more tricks on how to get this task, which keeps many from sleeping at night, done.

#1. Use images

Images work better than words; they speak to the senses. It takes only ¼ second for the human brain to process and attach meaning to a symbol. In comparison, it takes on average 6 seconds to read 20-25 words (and yes, that’s why we do what we do!). Alternate by using images, pictures, but also video and graphs. And make sure to include sound in your videos. A story sticks better when experiencing it with all of the senses!

#2. Keep it simple

If you’re talking to many people at the same time, their levels of understanding will vary. Stick to what you know best and don’t make it too hard on yourself. You will probably have told your story many times before, but the information you're giving the audience is new to them. So, keep the attention of your audience by not over-complicating matters!

#3. Check the equipment

The gear that is often present at big conference halls or other large rooms can be wonderful. You do not want it to fail! The best-designed presentations can be a flop if the screen goes black or the audio malfunctions. Be sure to check that all the equipment you need works, or get a third party you trust to do this for you.

#4. Establish eye-contact 

Be aware of the fact that your audience is large and speak to everyone in the room. Try to establish eye contact with people in different angles of the hall. To some people, this can feel uncomfortable. If that's the case, focus your eyes on a wall right behind a person in the audience; it will look like you are speaking to the person/persons standing there.

#5. Practice, practice, practice

Last but not least; you should rehearse your talk. Looking at your favorite TED-talks, it may seem that everyone that knows how to speak well does so with little preparation or rehearsal. This might be the case for a handful of people, but the hard truth is: you need to practice your presentation and make it your own, in order to tell a convincing story. So go on; put on your suit, stand in front of the mirror and make sure you get your story perfect!

That’s it. Stay tuned for more tips, tricks, and fun-facts on presentational storytelling.

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