With 2014 coming to a close, we looked through our analytics and research on hundreds of thousands of companies, leaders, and organizations over the past year in order to collect our favorite communication statistics. What follows is a list of our favorite statistics on giving an effective presentation.
Happy holidays from the Quantified Communications team!
10 Metrics You Need to Know to Give an Effective Presentation
- You have 15 seconds to make a positive first impression on your audience (Tweet this)From the moment you step on stage, your audience will make an assessment of you and then look for evidence to confirm their first impressions. This subconscious phenomena is called thin slicing – and we all do it. People rely on nonverbal cues such as posture and eye contact to evaluate others very quickly after an initial meeting, often forming a first impression within 15 seconds.
- The average audience attention span when listening to a speaker is 5 minutes (Tweet this)Our attention spans have decreased from 12 to 5 minutes in the past ten years. Blame Twitter, blame Facebook—point your finger wherever you’d like, but the truth is, we just don’t pay attention like we used to. In fact, in one 24 hour period, the average working American checks her phone up to 150 times and is exposed to over 34GB of content—that’s the equivalent of 38.7 hours (or 1.6 days) of HD video on YouTube! With all this competition for your audience’s attention, engagement has never been more important.
- 1:1 – Eye contact is directly proportional to audience participation (Tweet this)A study from Queen’s University found that the amount of eye contact a person received during a group conversation directly affected how much they chose to participate in an activity. Make eye contact with your audience to make them feel like active participants in your presentation.
- Your introduction should make-up only 10% of your speech (Tweet this)This metric is especially important given the short attention span of your audience. Start with a bang—the first words out of your mouth should instantly pique the interest of your audience. Then, once you have their attention, give them a reason to stay focused—tell them what they will learn if they pay attention, or give them a sneak peek of the exciting information you’re about to deliver.
- 90% of a listener’s first impression of a speaker remains unchanged after hearing the content of his or her message (Tweet this)Research shows that the first fifteen seconds of a presentation are the most important because 90% of your audience’s initial judgments remain the same even after you’ve given your presentation. Knowing this, you want to do everything in your power to make a positive first impression to ensure that initial judgment swings in your favor. How? Dress for success, be prepared, know your audience and don’t forget to smile.
- You should not have more than 12 words on a slide (Tweet this)When we learn, there’s a limit to how much information we can absorb at once. So judge your slides like a marketing director—your projected information should function like a billboard. The audience should be able to quickly understand the visual aid before turning their attention back to you—so cut the text and crank up the images.
- The nonverbal elements of a speaker’s presentation account for 65% of listeners’ evaluations (Tweet this)After analyzing media appearances by 120 top financial communicators, our communication analytics found that a speaker’s tone, appearance and demeanor were nine times more important in making a strong impression on potential investors than the actual content the speaker presented.
- 100% of your audience will appreciate you ending on time (Tweet this)Your audience comes to your presentation with very clear expectations for how much time they’ve taken out of their busy days to listen to you. If you violate those expectations, you run the risk of being remembered not as a fantastic speaker but rather as the speaker who didn’t stop talking. When you’re speaking, you want your audience to feel like time just flew by – and, most importantly, you want to leave your audience hungry for more.
- Authentic speakers are perceived as 54% more trustworthy and 75% more persuasive than the average speaker (Tweet this)It is harder to trust people who are inauthentic and if an audience does not trust you, it is almost impossible to persuade them of your message.
- Don’t underestimate the power of persuasion. The top 20 TED speakers of all time scored 20% higher on persuasion than the average speaker (Tweet this)The top TED speakers were found to be persuasive because they made their messages personally relevant to their audiences. Studies have shown that simply addressing the audience directly as you versus one can increase their attention. Others have shown that personally relevant information has a greater impact on the audience’s judgment than information that lacks personal relevance.