Presentations are vitally important to communicating information to customers, employees, and stakeholders. Contrary to popular belief, there is no one “right” type of presentation or one “right” way of presenting. Below are five distinct styles of presenting and how presenters can embrace them.
The lecture style is indicative of the presentations many teachers and professors give. The purpose of this style is to educate, inform, and eventually persuade audience members around a given topic. Within the lecture style, complex topics are often expressed through metaphors or frameworks that describe the subject from both a macro and micro view. Because of the depth of information in this style of presentation, presenters must be completely knowledgeable about what they are talking about. Presenters must also be skilled at reinforcing their underlying message throughout the presentation to keep the audience engaged.
The visual style uses the presentation deck only to reinforce what the speaker is saying. Thus, visual presentations have little text which forces the audience to engage with the speaker. A good visual presentation integrates video, audio, imagery, and graphics to create an immersive and stimulating experience for the audience.
One benefit of this style is that you can put presentations together relatively quickly because you’re focused more on finding imagery or graphics that reflect and resonate with the speaker. The visual style requires a strong public speaker that is both knowledgeable and passionate about the content. A poor public speaker will cause the audience to disengage and not follow the presentation at all.
The standout element of coaching style presentations is the charismatic and engaging speaker. The speakers that generally come to mind are considered motivational speakers. Often times motivational speakers use the audience by encouraging listener interaction or by having the audience role play. Sometimes coaching style presentations allow for audience Q&A which gives audience members a chance to tell their stories and ask insightful questions. In coaching style presentations visuals are sparsely used, and when they are used, they are generally calls to action for the audience.
The storytelling style of presentation uses traditional story form to connect and communicate with the audience. As with any story or book, a storytelling presentation must have a beginning, middle, and end with protagonist and antagonist characters. The anecdotes used in storytelling presentations carry with them distinct life lessons or themes that the speaker wants to communicate with the audience. Storytelling presentations require the speaker to carefully guide their audience through the story and maintain engagement and interest along the way
This is also known as an impromptu style of speech which does not use any slides or visuals. Typically, freeform speeches are not prepared and integrate personal stories and anecdotes to make their point. Impromptu speeches tend to be less than 5-7 minutes and try to persuade listeners in that short period of time. Elevator speeches are a great example of the freeform style of presenting. The freeform style of presentation works best at networking events which are less formal and therefore can be less rehearsed.
These five styles of presenting give public speakers the opportunity to expand their way of communicating to audiences. By understanding how these presentation styles are used, speakers can adapt to their audience and their surroundings to give an impactful message to their listeners.
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