Technical Presentations Audience

The Power of Consistency when Speaking

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to present a workshop on how to make technical presentations interesting for the audience and the speaker last weekend. It was a great session, and I received lots of positive feedback – which is always nice. However, at the end of the Q&A period I received a slightly left of field question that I wasn’t expecting in a session on technical presentations. It related to consistency.

 

The last ten minutes of the session included some advice on how to make present graphs and data more effectively on screen. During most sessions where I talk about PowerPoint I place a lot of emphasis on the use of images – however last weekend I only touched briefly on the subject. Curiously my audience member identified that I used a consistent font and font colour throughout the presentation and wondered if that was necessary.

 

I rally shouldn’t be surprised. The audience was mostly engineers and analytical types – they live and breathe that level of detail in their day jobs!

 

On several of my slides I found myself making the background image more transparent than I would have preferred to ensure that the text was still readable.

 

I could have changed font and colour for those slides. But it would have created a distraction in the minds of the audience. You see they unconsciously want consistency of minor details such a colours and fonts. If you mix them up in your slide pack they will find themselves expending mental energy trying to understand the slides… his is attention and energy they are diverting away from listening to you. In other words a distraction!

 

The more distractions you have the less effective you will be as a speaker. Your job when preparing your presentation is to make your speech and supporting visual aids as easy as possible for the audience to understand. You audience will thank you for it!

About The Author

Mark Kyte

Mark Kyte is a public speaking mentor and founder of the Public Speaking Skills Academy. Mark loves helping clients achieve dynamic results that help them increase their influence and get more clients. Read more of his blog and if you like what you see check out the mentoring programs.