Enjoy this article by presentations expert Debbie Fay of bespeak presentations. It's something we all should think about.
Stuffing is for birds, not for brains
by Debbie Fay
More often than not, when I’m helping clients build a presentation they say, “But I have to tell them this.” The this is typically some hugely-technical piece of information that makes the presenter look like Super Smarty-Pants, but does nothing to a.) make the presenter’s real point or b.) increase the audience’s understanding. In fact, very often the this is something important to the presenter, but NOT to the audience. Even worse, many presenters fill their presentations with all kinds of thises that increase their smarty pants quotient, but leave their audiences bored or confused, or both. These kind of thises do not a successful presentation make.
When you sit down to build your presentation, (once you’ve written in a sentence or two its purpose), get a big ol’ piece of paper and brainstorm everything you can about your audience. That’s right, not about your subject matter, about its intended target. Who are they? Why are they coming to hear you speak? What are their biggest concerns? How will your presentation address and (better yet) resolve those concerns? What might possible objections be to what you’re proposing? How can you allay those concerns?
The answers to these questions must be the thises you include in your presentation, and ONLY these. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, the audience only cares about what you’re saying as it relates to them. Period. Confusing them by showing your super smarty pants command of your material will only alienate and anger them. Not a good way to build rapport.
Once you’ve determined how the purpose of your presentation relates to your audience you must narrow this down to only those things that are MOST compelling to them. Why? People can only retain so much, even when you are talking about something of direct interest and importance to them. DON’T stuff their brains!!! In fact, if there is an organ in their body you want to appeal to, it would be their heart. You need to reach them on an emotional level. Give them ONLY the information they care about, and then only as much as they can comfortably digest and retain. How do you do that? That, my friends, will have to wait until my next artilce. (I wouldn’t want to be found guilty of stuffing your brains.)
Debbie Fay, founder of bespeak presentation solutions, is a presentations/public speaking coach who has helped hundreds of people of all ages and vocations get heard and get results. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org .