Prime Your Audience’s “AHA” Moments

 

Imagine yourself giving a presentation that can help you promote your ideas, raise money or get an approval for a project.
Then, at a certain point, you guide your audience to their AHA Moment.
They might say it out loud. Or you see it on their faces. But it’s unmistakable.
A transformation has taken place – and everyone knows it.
How satisfying is that?! You know that you have nailed it!
Priming is a well-known term in psychology. The Cambridge dictionary defines it as “telling someone something that will prepare them for a particular situation.”
So if you want your audience to have their AHA Moment, you need to prepare them.

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How? Here is an example.
You have just designed a computer game called Kortnight and you are about to deliver a presentation in front of 150 angry parents. Your goal is for them to understand that Kortnight, which their children spend their time and their parent’s money on, has the potential to make them more friendly, communicative and successful for the rest of their lives. Not an easy task…
You even back your message up with a the results from extensive research that you have done, and even some references from parents that support your message. But still, children spending hours in front of screens is a sensitive issue these days, and these parents will probably not be an easy audience.
Now think about how three times during your opening, and before telling them your big idea, you tell them what you are about to tell them. You prime what you would like them to feel when they hear it.
You start by saying “I am going to tell you something that will reverse everything you thought about my game.”
Then you add: “The statistics I am about to present, will be shocking. It was surprising and exciting even for us.”
Then pause for a moment and say:
“Here is our game-changing discovery. Kortright has the potential to change your children’s lives – for the better.”
You show them how 8 out of 10 children who play Kortnight and participated in your research performed much better than the ones who didn’t, and you add an explanation from a well-known neurologist about why this happens.

 

Guess what! You have just guided your audience to an AHA Moment. You proactively helped them get there by priming your big idea throughout your talk, making sure they would not lose concentration and recognize how surprising and important your discovery is.
We can all spice up our presentations with priming. It must be authentic and natural. It needs to be added with the right timing and in the right dosage.

 

To summarize, listen up. What I am about to tell you is essential every time you try to get your audience’s attention. Priming has the potential to radically transform your presentations and make them so much more effective, starting right now.