You’ll find hundreds of presentation skills tips on the internet. Have you heard of this one? We bet you haven’t! An incomplete sentence or diagram – but doesn’t that amount to an incomplete presentation? No, not if your intention is to get your audience thinking. And we all know that when something we see triggers a spurt of thinking, we actually remember the details better. And this one is a gem that you will love to use over and over again in your slides.
The technique of creating incomplete information on slides that don’t make sense until they are explained by the presenter is called Visual Cognitive Dissonance. This works to your advantage in several ways.
- It makes your presentation very different, and that in itself is enough to garner audience interest
- The confusion kick-starts the brains of people in the audience into ‘think’ mode. While this happens you can be assured of 100% attention from your audience.
- Intense audience involvement and participation is then a given.
See how this slideshow by Simon Bostock just doesn’t make sense at first glance. However, when presented in front of an audience it does make a lot of sense and garners huge interest from the audience, because just looking at the slides won’t tell them what the speaker wants to convey. They need to listen.
Nicholas Oulton is a strong promoter of this theory. He has conducted experiments that prove that Visual Cognitive Dissonance increases the audience attention and produces over 90% recall of the diagram, 80% recall of the information sequence and 75% recall of the verbal information (from the presenter!) that accompanies the diagram.