June 2017 Making Your Presentations Matter

The Peak End Rule and Presentations

If you’re like most presenters, you wonder how your audience receives your presentation. Here are two questions that may give you a clue.

  • How does your audience feel during the most intense part of your presentation?
  • How did they feel at the end of your presentation? According to the “Peak End Rule,” these are the primary determinators of how your audience experiences your presentation.

How does this apply to your presentations? The “End” part of the rule is easy to understand. How well do you close your presentation? Do you answer questions confidently and concisely? Do you continue to make eye contact with everyone during your answers? Do you make a strong, reasoned argument of what they audience should do with the information you’ve shared with them? If your answer to all of these is “yes,” then you’ve got this half of the Peak End Rule working in your favor.

Now it’s time to examine of the “Peak” part of the rule. It’s not likely that you are going to create a positive, intense feeling during your presentation with statistics alone. A story will do this more effectively. To prove the benefit(s) of your content, share an illustrative story. In telling your story:

  • Do the dialogue
  • Identify the emotions clearly
  • Demonstrate the action so that you engage your audience’s visual cortex
  • Vary your voice (tone, inflection, and rate) to build suspense

Does this guarantee a successful presentation? Of course not. But it will certainly enhance your chances!

You can find out more about the Peak End Rule here (https://curiosity.com/topics/the-peak-end-rule-says-experiences-are-all-about-the-ending-curiosity/)