Some presentations fail to impress because key elements are missing. Much more fail because they contain too much information. Information overload is ever present in our modern society. The presentation which impresses with a powerful message is the one that is sharp and focused on its own aim. So, how to be sure that your presentation does not fall into the trap of providing your audience more information just because you can. What is it precisely that you want your audience to understand not just know at the end of your presentation? Can you explain this aim in one sentence? If you are able to write it down. If you can not then work at it until you can. If it won’t fit into one paragraph that is sensible, then you have more than one aim and need more than one presentation. Keep this aim in mind. Build out in the aim, use mind-mapping or other planning aids if you are comfortable with them. Are you searching for presentation training? Browse the before outlined website.
Immediately around the aim are clustered facts and figures that are essential. Further out there is supporting information that is important. As you get farther away from the relevance and the significance drops off sharply. Be ruthless and remove everything that doesn’t build an image of your aim in the mind of your audience. Note down all of the information, illustrations and arguments; whatever you need. If you’re not certain in the early phases if you will need a specific item, leave it in. But have the courage to throw it out later if it’s not needed. One check question is, ‘would my audience feel cheated if they found out about this later?’ If so, leave it in. You are not hiding things from the audience; just doing them the courtesy of their having to listen to only what’s needed. Do not fall into the trap of filling a thirty-minute slot just because you’ve been given that time. If you want less, say so. You will probably be thanked, especially if there is a busy programme. Needless to say, if you want more, ask.
Never, ever, over-run your own time. Few of us are good enough speakers for our audiences to desire more than they asked for. Do you understand the difference between an example and an anecdote; humour and jokes; friendliness and obsequiousness? For our purposes, the distinction is what you leave in and what you discard. Do use examples if needed; do not ramble off into irrelevant tales. Do be somewhat humorous if appropriate; don’t tell jokes, particularly smutty ones. Do be as friendly and open as the event allows; do not attempt to suck up to your audience. If you stick to these rules, your presentation will be sharp and lean. The lines you draw from the arguments to your conclusions will be clear. Your audience will understand exactly what you wanted them to understand with no distracting thoughts. Your chances of achieving your goal will be much higher. And if sometimes you do fail, at least you will know it was because you didn’t convince them, not because you lost them on the way.