How to Grab and Keep Interest in Any Presentation

David CasavantDavid A. Casavant is the Executive Director at the Sustainable Workplace Alliance, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to protecting your organization’s most valuable assets – workers! They conduct outreach training and consultations funded entirely by government grants. Follow David and his organization on Twitter @HAZMAT_OSHA.

We’ve all been in the situation, whether as students or teachers: Navigating through a text-heavy, bland PowerPoint presentation and struggling to either pay or capture attention. After a few slides of reading verbatim from the presentation, you can feel interest waning – and it’s tough to regain. Regardless of the content on-screen, if our presentations are one-dimensional and dull, we have no chance of delivering a lesson that sticks. That’s the issue I was facing as a presenter and trainer at the Sustainable Workplace Alliance (SWA).

At SWA, we specialize in assisting organizations that produce, transport, store or use hazardous chemicals. As a program director for this nonprofit educational group, I am no stranger to instructional trainings: More than one thousand people come through for trainings each year, where I cover everything compliance-based, from construction, to Department of Transportation driver trainings, to OSHA hazardous materials management. Funny enough, I also lead trainings on how to lead trainings.

It’s hard enough as it is to teach students about regulations and compliance. The topics are tedious, dense, and dry by nature, so creating and retaining interest throughout presentations is trying, but of paramount importance – if our students don’t engage with the lessons, they won’t attach to the crucial information we’re covering. I felt at a loss: Responsible for disseminating lawful, potentially life-saving information in a way I knew students wouldn’t grasp. I was struggling to come up with a way to bring my presentations to life easily and effectively, since I’m not a graphic design whiz. On my hunt to upgrade my presentations to increase engagement almost eight years ago, I discovered Snagit and have been hooked ever since.

Snagit

Snagit is an intuitive image and video capture tool that isn’t complex, yet yields impressive results. Snagit enables me to grab, create and share the information and media that matters most in a fun, approachable way. Instead of bland text-filled slides, my presentations were suddenly vitalized by high-quality edited images and effects.

Take, for example, an expert witnessing in a court case. To both maintain privacy and add interest, I am able to cut just a portion of the document and edit, annotate, and highlight the important aspects. I can edit compliance imagery to create an interactive exercise where students must identify what’s wrong with the picture, and hop to the next slide with another edited image for the answers. Creating images like these promotes interaction and piques students’ interest, and it’s a great way to recapture attention during a long presentation. For years, students have commented on the quality of my presentation images, so when I hold trainings on making presentations come to life, Snagit is at the forefront.

Snagit 2

Snagit 3
I’m not a photo editing pro, but Snagit makes it appear as if I am and all but eliminates the SWA’s need for designers. The effort on my part is minimal, but the result looks professional. I’ve seen higher retention, improved success rates and increased adoption in my classrooms. Snagit has given our organization the ability to make attention-grabbing presentations, and the confidence to know that our lessons will be well-received and remembered.