How much time have you got?

A common mistake when preparing a presentation is to approach the issue of time from the wrong end. Speakers decide what they want to say and then consider how they’re going to fit it into the 10-minute slot they’ve been allocated. They achieve it by speaking very quickly and/or displaying on slides whatever detail they can’t manage to articulate in the time available.

Inevitably, the audience retains very little of this avalanche of information. The whole exercise is pretty pointless but the awful part is, it has become so widespread in business that it’s often accepted as simply how it is. I find that both sad and scary, and my mission is to turn it around.

Start from the other end: what can you convey in ten minutes? You can’t explain the finer points of anything, so don’t even try. The purpose of your talk is to give your audience the headlines, not the whole story: one core message, supported and illustrated by probably three main points. More than that and you’ll be struggling to cover them adequately (as American public speaking coach Michelle Mazur puts it, do the math!).

By saying less, you allow your listeners to absorb and process what you do say. Instead of burying them under a landslide, you’re giving them an overview – a far more useful and pleasant experience for all concerned.

dilbert-powerpoint-poisoning

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About Georgie

Coach and consultant in effective communication - public speaking, interviews & pitches, training, lecturing, meetings, debates & discussions. Motivational speaker
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