How to make your presentation stand out by doing less.
Space Makes Your Presentation Stand Out. The absence of space makes it confusing.
Discover the power of White Space both in your design slides and also the room you use.
White Space – what is it?[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hen you listen to your favourite band or piece of music you probably don’t listen to the silence in between each note or phrase. This might sound a bit funny, as silence is the absence of sound and listening for absence, well it’s kind of contradictory.
And this is why it’s so important.
We have a constant stream of information to our senses from the outside and also our inside world (what we feel, see and say to ourselves, including emotions).
When there’s an absence from any one of them this leaves space for our other senses to ‘make sense’ of our experience. Meaning, if there’s too much information in any one sense at any one time, it can be confusing and overloads us.
Most simply put –
We start to pay less attention to it.
Imagine your favourite song and compress the amount of time it’s played in. The faster it’s played while keeping the same pitch the different the resulting tune is. Still recognisable, though it doesn’t have the same emotional impact.
And this is why you listen to it in the first place but because it impacts your emotions, how you feel.
This is the same with all our senses, overload any of them and we simply –
What creates the majesty of the music we like, love and listen to are not so much the notes, rather it’s the spacing and silence in between; otherwise all we have is a cacophony of sound which is hardly pleasant.
The same applies to any presentation you do, not only with how you talk but also in how you design slides with the use of text, from bullet points to walls of text and images and not only this, also how you move about and use the room as well as your gestures.
Together they’re your orchestra to create a symphony. Too much of any one of them and you’ll lose your audience in the cacophony of information
It’s the silence in between the notes that creates the music.
5 Sense-able Ways
Here are 5 Sense -able ways to add white space and create presentations that people will sit and listen through.
Slides, create more white space on each slide. Break bullet points into 3 per slide. Walls of text cut into bullet points.
Use single words / phrases instead of bullet points if you can and have them on 1 per slide with an image and or supporting text underneath. Make them appear to be headlines instead if you can.
Space your words and sentences out, don’t rush what you say. Use speed to create urgency or slow your voice down to create a state of relaxation or impetus. Vary your pitch too, create height and depth with how you talk and remember to…
A slower and lower voice has a more powerful impact than a fast high pitched one. Think about someone screaming, it creates tension and anxiousness. A lower pitch and slower is like that of a soothing parent.
The gestures you use and the room you walk around. Many people present from the front – the stage. Think about other parts of the room, present from the back or sides.
They each have a different impact on the way we experience a presentation.
The front has a leadership and power position. All eyes, focus and attention are on you and your lead.
The back offers more of a supportive presentation, it becomes less about you and more about what it is you’re presenting. This can help you remove yourself as being a ‘target’ if this is how you feel. It depersonalises it from you being the message to the ‘presentation’ being the message.
The back also has a sense of ‘I’m with you on’ it brings you into your audiences’ perspective. It’s an excellent position to use if there’s a contentious issue.
This is also an excellent place when you want to really bring in some deep rapport. To do this, drop your voice and lower it in volume then crouch down to their height and speak.
The sides can also act like the back of the room, though are better used as a ‘fly on the wall’ perspective. So, you can use these positions to create the sense of objectivity. Again, you’re removing yourself away from being the ‘message’ to being the messenger.
Alternating between the different positions in the room give you that white space and offers different meanings to your presentation. It allows your audience to experience what it is you’re presenting as a story, something that unites them with you and your presentation idea.
Difference and space is that which creates understanding.
Get Buy-in by knowing how to use a room (the Psychogeography) and how this effects the way your audience processes your message, so they won’t tune out.