Whether you’re prepping for an upcoming pitch or trying to sharpen your public speaking skills, there’s a lot of information about giving presentations. How do you keep your audience engaged? What if you’re nervous about speaking? What colors should you use? We know and understand the nuances of presentations, which is why we’ve researched and gathered 15 presentation and public speaking stats you should know to make your next one your best one.
1. You have three seconds to capture your audience’s attention.
According to the Glance Test, your audience should be able to understand what you’re showcasing in just three seconds. That’s because you’re likely already up against a few challenges during your presentation — like audience members who are distracted or multitasking. But if you can pass the Glance Test, you’ll be able to convey your message and keep their attention.
2. Interactive content is more effective.
70% of marketers say that interactive content is more effective when it comes to engaging your audience. That’s because if you do all the talking — without interacting with your audience — their engagement drops a whopping 14%. To keep that from happening, think of incorporating interactive elements like videos, asking your audience questions, taking live polls, and making time for a Q&A.
3. Visual aids help with retention.
Using visual aids in a presentation not only makes it look better — it’s more effective. One study found that just three hours after a presentation, 85% of the audience can remember content presented visually vs. 70% who can retain verbal content. But after three days, 60% can still remember the visual content, whereas only 10% can remember something from the oral presentation. Bottom line? Use more visual aids!
4. Storytelling helps with retention, too.
Want to boost your audience’s retention even more? Tell a story! Studies show that when facts are presented in the form of a story, people are 22 times more likely to remember them. Talk about powerful.
5. Stories move audiences to action.
If the goal of your presentation is to get people to take action — like sign up or donate — then make storytelling the focal point of your presentation. In one fascinating study, researchers found that stories were more powerful than statistics and drove in twice as many donations. That’s because the presenters could effectively showcase how and who those donations would help, vs. showing just statistics.
6. Your audience can’t effectively read and listen at the same time.
Presentations can be challenging because you don’t want an awkward silence each time you go to a new slide. However, forcing audience members to read and listen simultaneously is ineffective, and it takes more time to regain focus afterward. But because we know that might not be entirely possible in a presentation, try to stick to just one idea per slide. That way, audiences don’t have so much to take in and can still effectively listen to what you have to say.
7. Pictures are more effective than words.
It’s called the Picture Superiority Effect, which is exactly how it sounds. Researchers discovered that when ideas are presented in graphs or pictures, they’re easier to remember and comprehend than just words. So, the next time you feel you have a text-heavy slide, try to show it through a picture or graphic instead!
8. Audiences can process pictures and symbols in just ¼ of a second.
If you needed more reason to use more pictures and visual aids, consider this: It only takes ¼ of a second for our brains to attach meaning to a symbol. So, if you want to capture your audience’s attention early on, start there!
9. It takes much longer for audiences to read words.
We already know reading slides encourages multitasking, which isn’t super effective. However, we also know that, on average, people need around six seconds to read 20-25 words. While that doesn’t seem like a lot of time, when you compare it to the ¼ of a second, they need to process a picture, it becomes a lot more obvious how powerful the latter is.
10. The ideal presentation length is 18 minutes.
Ever wonder why TED Talks are limited to just 18 minutes? Because, according to its curator, Chris Anderson, it’s the perfect amount of time to:
- Hold on to the audience’s attention
- Be taken seriously
- Say something that matters
What’s even more impressive: Anderson’s theory is backed by neuroscience.
While these first 10 public speaking stats are designed to help you put on your best presentation, let’s actually talk about making it through your presentation. Nervous? Here are a few fun facts.
11. Nearly ¾ of the population fears public speaking.
Next to America’s biggest phobias — like bugs and heights — is public speaking. It’s estimated that as many as 75% of us are afraid of it, and it even has its own term: glossophobia. But scientists say that fear is actually driven by adrenaline, and there are tons of ways to help overcome it. The bottom line here, though, is if you felt alone in this boat — you certainly are not.
12. It only takes five seconds for an audience to make a judgment about you.
While that fact may sound harsh, it’s not all bad. One study looked into charisma, trying to measure how charismatic audiences found presenters. They found it only takes as little as five seconds for people to decide whether someone is charismatic. Why is this important? People are more likely to follow those who they deem charming or captivating.
13. ‘Power posing’ can make you seem more confident.
Straight back, hands on your hips, open arms — these positions are all considered ‘power posing.’ And researchers show it’s effective, too. It not only helps presenters showcase more confidence, but it can actually help them reduce stress and jitters. Win-win!
14. More color = more comprehension.
Ever felt stuck trying to nail down the perfect color scheme for your presentation? Us, too. But now, those decisions can be made even easier. Here’s what we mean: studies show that color can boost comprehension by up to 73% and improve learning by up to 75%. So, the next time you’re thinking of sticking to a safe or muted color scheme — don’t!
15. Nearly half of all presenters have a hard time designing presentations.
Simply put, presentations can be really challenging to put together. Between data and charts and transitions and design, there’s a lot to consider that can potentially make or break your entire presentation. In fact, researchers found that 45% of presenters think it’s challenging to design layouts for their presentations. If this sounds like you, you’re in luck!
At Beautiful.ai, we know and understand the challenges of creating your own presentations. That’s why we have hundreds of presentation templates to help you out. Whether you need a quick jump-start or the power and guidance of automated design, we’ve got you covered.
Ready to be proud of what you present? Explore our presentation templates now!