We are living in a video world. A world of images in motion.

Modern-day audiences are accustomed to learning through video. In fact, the Cisco Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Trends Report for 2017-2022, estimates that 82% of the web’s global traffic is video-related traffic.

The report goes on to state that “the implications of video growth are difficult to overstate.” We concur.

So what does this mean for speakers?

It means we are presenting to audiences who are accustomed to being engaged by moving visuals. Audience members are used to processing information in formats that involve a lot of motion. So as speakers, we need to be aware of this shift. And we need to capitalize on it. Standing behind a lectern or using boring, stationary slides won’t engage an audience who has adapted to a world in motion.

How does motion get our attention?

Research from Abrams & Christ in 2003 found that when something stationary starts to move, that onset of motion is “particularly potent for capturing attention.” It’s important to note that in this research, it was specifically the onset of motion which was most engaging, not constant motion. Participants were especially attracted to that transition from stillness to motion.

Presentation coach Jerry Weissman says, “The highly sensitive optic nerves in your audience’s eyes cause them to react involuntarily to light and motion.” In other words, when something starts to move, we can’t help but to look at it. So every time something that was still moves, your audience notices it.

How can we infuse our presentations with motion?

Since we know that the onset of motion can help us gain and maintain audience attention, we should use it strategically in our presentations. Here are a few ways we can do that:

  • Consider moving your position on the stage or in the room when you are transitioning in your content. This slight change will help to grab the audience’s attention at moment when it’s typically easy to lose it.
  • Use motion on your slides. But use it thoughtfully and sparingly. Knowing that it’s the onset of motion that attracts us, plan to use motion only when it matters most. Too much motion in your graphics will start to lose its novelty and the effect will wear off.
  • Plan to have only one thing moving. You shouldn’t have different forms of motion competing with each other. In other words, if something on the screen is moving, you should plan to stay still. That way, your audience’s attention is not divided.
  • Add videos to your presentation. Take advantage of the vast amount of information available via video format these days and use those as supporting resources. Or consider making part of your presentation in video format. This would allow you to bring in other voices, present from a helpful location, or compress information that might take a while to cover “live.”

As speakers, we want to create messages and images that truly move our audiences. The secret to that might be right in front of our eyes. As we think about creating moving presentations, we need to think about creating moving presentations.

Ethos3 exists to help you develop, design, and deliver masterful presentations. Ready to create a moving presentation?


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