A good presentation is like a good joke — you don’t want the whole thing to be too predictable or it loses all of its power. Keeping the “1, 2… 4! rule” in mind while you put your presentation together can help.
People are good at seeing patterns. Whether it’s a comedy routine or a presentation at work, people don’t seem to get drawn in if they can figure out the pattern. If you’ve ever heard a predictable joke, you know exactly what it’s like. Comedian Rajiv Satyal explains how good presenters use the “1, 2… 4! rule” of comedy to keep things interesting:
They look like they’re about to establish a pattern but then break it just when it’s about to become one. In this example, you think I’m counting but, when you hear “4,” you realise I was doubling the numbers. It makes sense in retrospect. (But they’re not 1, 2, 7! That would just be random.) Jokes work due to the element of surprise. Too many business presentations are stuff people already know (1, 2… 3!) or stuff people don’t know what to do with (1, 2… 7!). Give ’em something both memorable and fun.
Different aspects of comedy can be applied to all kinds of things in life. Not just because most people have a sense of humour, but because comedy has just as much strategy to it as anything else. If you can find a way to surprise your audience even just a little, you can guarantee that your presentation will at least be remembered.