Harvard Researchers Find “Conversational Presenting” to be More Engaging, Persuasive, and Effective Than Slides

July 18, 2017 Guest Post

Guest Post by the Team at Prezi

The importance of prioritizing presentations in the world of business cannot be overstated— especially when it comes to sales and marketing. When you consider how presentations are often responsible for winning new business and maintaining relationships with existing customers, you could even say they’re the lifeblood of these departments.

Prioritizing includes keeping up on the latest presentation trends and techniques, which brings us to sharing the results of a study from Harvard University’s researchers: after observing a number of techniques, Prezi’s zoomable canvas was deemed “more effective, engaging, and persuasive” than slideware or verbal-only presentations.

The study

Rather than flipping through a linear deck, with conversational presentations (using a tool such as Prezi) a presenter can zoom into different topics at will and zoom back out to show them in context.

This kind of flexibility is great for a couple of reasons:

  1. Presenters can go back and forth between concepts, depending on what people are interested in.
  2. Conversational presentations keep audiences involved. By being allowed to ask questions and provide feedback, they’re truly engaged.

Change is good, but does it make a difference in the world of business? Harvard’s study was designed to find out. It began by splitting participants into two different groups: presenters and audience members. The group of presenters was asked to create a presentation based on a real-world business scenario and deliver it to the second group in three different formats: Prezi, PowerPoint, and verbal presentations with no visual aid.

Prezi ultimately stole the spotlight. According to the study, the audience reported that compared to slideware and the lack of visual aid in verbal-only presentations, zooming in and out of a virtual canvas was a more favorable experience overall.

Here are a few stats from the study:

      Prezi was rated 12.5% more organized than slides.

      Prezi was rated 16.36% more engaging than slides.

      Prezi was rated 21.89% more persuasive than slides.

      Prezi was rated 25.28% more effective than slides.  

Even more interesting? Those using Prezi were seen as “more knowledgeable and professional” than when they used other methods.

Closing that blind spot

While it’s certainly exciting, we can’t say this news is surprising. Our own study on the sales blind spot earlier this year surfaced results that are much in line with Harvard’s. In addition to revealing presentations as the most vulnerable part of the sales process, engagement by way of conversation stood out as the key to making them more effective.

We also found that the reasons why participants’ presentations were not effective included:

  • Lack of dynamic and interactive presentations
  • Inability to personalize and adapt presentation in real time
  • Focus on the seller rather than the client

Conversational presentations address all of these gaps, so we’re going to keep our eyes on the platform and suggest you do too. If you’re looking to mix up the way you present, switching to a conversational approach might be just the kind of change you need.

The post Harvard Researchers Find “Conversational Presenting” to be More Engaging, Persuasive, and Effective Than Slides appeared first on Heinz Marketing.

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