Learner’s Permit

Question: I am making a major presentation soon. Any tips on how to ensure that I connect with each audience member?

Answer: We’ve all heard about the three distinct learning styles. Auditory learners need to hear things; visual learners need to see things, and kinesthetic learners need to touch things. A presentation that successfully incorporates all three learning styles will be the most effective in communicating the presenter’s information. There are conflicting schools of thought about this however.

There are those who have a real disdain for “Death by PowerPoint.” I used to be one such dissident. However my thinking has changed as I’ve made countless presentations over the years. The problem with PowerPoint is that too many presenters try to cram too many words onto a slide and then proceed to read the text word-for-word. My PowerPoint utilization is to incorporate photos, graphs, charts or even a single word or number. Then I use the slides as talking points. Which would be a more interest slide in your opinion?

Version 1 – Without any sort of subsidy the monthly rent for an apartment unit would need to be $1,200.

Version 2 – $1,200

Version 2 works better for me. The visual learner sees a number that is the central them for the point I’m trying to make. The auditory learner then hears my explanation of the $1,200. And I might even mock up a rent check in the amount of $1,200 that I pass around the table for the kinesthetic learners who might be present.

Reaching kinesthetic learners is the hardest of the three styles. We have to be careful not to create something to hand out that is too cheesy or gimmicky – the rent check idea is certainly on the borderline in this respect. It’s also a challenge to determine who in the room fits in each learning style category. And even if you asked the question directly, many people wouldn’t even know without further explanation. There’s also little doubt that you would be viewed as a bit eccentric! Statistically the population roughly breaks down to 29% visual, 34% auditory and 37% kinesthetic. Obviously a balanced presentation approach is warranted.

As entrepreneurs we are regularly called upon to present ideas and information. Utilizing auditory, visual and kinesthetic techniques will help stack the deck in favor of effective communications.

This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.


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