No matter the topic, giving a memorable presentation can seem daunting.
When your topic is boring, it can feel even more challenging. Perhaps you
think that because your industry or profession is highly technical and
data-heavy you are doomed to put your audience to sleep.
Though it might not be easy, you can turn a boring topic into an
engaging presentation. If you are passionate about your topic, you can
inspire your audience. However, if you think your "job" is to get a bunch
of boring information across to your audience, you're sabotaging your
efforts and you should start thinking differently.
1. Understand your objective.
Your first step to an engaging presentation is to get your mindset right.
Giving a presentation is not about sharing information; it's about
persuasion. Once you know what you are trying to get your audience to do,
summarize it in one brief sentence. For instance, "I am going to convince
my audience that eating a plant-based diet is a healthier option and will
save them money on medical bills down the road."
Once you know this, you can begin to craft the most effective presentation
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2. Solve a problem.
A good presentation is like an effective advertisement: Both solve a
problem for the audience. Your job is to determine what problem your
audience has that your information can solve.
Once you have determined the problem, lead with it. Start by talking about
the problem. Make your audience feel their frustration. They'll clamor for
your solution, i.e., the information you have to share.
Sticking with our original example, you may start your speech by discussing
how awful it feels to go through life with aches and pains and no energy,
not to mention how depressed you feel because your skin is not aging well.
Your audience will think, "Hey! That's exactly how I feel." Now you can
speak to them about the benefits of a vegetarian diet.
3. Use case studies.
Many topics will require your give cold, hard, boring data. When
you convey data through a case study, it is far more engaging. For
instance, data about the efficacy of a particular drug is boring, but when
you share how the drug improved a patient's life, it is anything but dull.
4. Have a plan B.
What happens if you can't find a case study for your topic? Come up with a
plan B, ideally using metaphors and analogies.
Use your imagination. Is your overall message like weather or a specific
sport? Maybe it's just like attempting to make the world's best
Keeping with our nutrition theme, you might suggest that the body is like a
car: For it to run well and not have the engine wear out, you have to give
it the right fuel.
The best teachers in the world use metaphors and analogies to help their
students understand difficult and complex topics, and you should use them
5. Make your presentation interactive.
Even inherently interesting topics can turn into dull presentations when
the audience feels lectured. Lecture to adults, and they'll instantly feel
as though they're back in school, forced to "listen" as the teacher drones
on and on about something boring.
Remember those special teachers who energized the class, though? They made
lessons fun, inspiring and surprising.
The more interactive your presentation, the less boring it will be. Get
your audience involved. Ask for a show of hands, pose specific questions to
a few individuals, borrow someone's watch to make an interesting point.
Have a conversation instead of giving a lecture, and you'll do much, much
6. Make eye contact.
You could be talking about how easy it is to make millions of dollars by
doing almost nothing, but if you're looking down at your notes or reading
your PowerPoint slides, your audience may still fall asleep. Eye contact is
essential part to good conversation, and that's what you're having,
Scan the audience and let your eyes land on one individual for a few
seconds before moving on to the next. Great eye contact is the sign of a
confident presenter and will keep your audience engaged.
With planning and imagination, any topic can be made more interesting. Your
job is to love the information you're presenting, determine what you are
trying to convince your audience of, solve a problem, use case studies,
employ metaphors and analogies, make it interactive, and make great eye
If you do this, your audience will be engaged throughout your presentation.
Ashish Arora is the co-founder of
SketchBubble.com. You can also find him on