Your presentation is probably too long


In the years that I have been coaching presentation there have been very few occasions when I have had to tell someone to “beef up” their presentation. More likely I’m advising clients to cut back and simplify.

We’re sorely tempted as presenters to tell our audience every detail of our service, idea or plan. The more great things they know, we reason, the more persuasive our case will be.

Presentation coach Olivia Mitchell says “Long presentations rarely achieve more than short ones. The longer the presentation, the more information there is for audience members to process. And so the less likely they are to get your core message.”

So, in trying to overwhelm the audience with every feature and benefit, with every statistic, with every case study we can come up with we actually end up burying the core reasons for our audience to support our idea or buy our product.

In addition, your audience will only pay attention to your presentation for so long. While there are techniques we can use to hold the attention of our audience there is no way around the fact that the longer we speak and the more information we deliver the greater the chance that our audience tires and drifts away from our content.

Richard Powell is the author of a book on the value of simplicity and he writes that in communication we should “Do only what is necessary to convey only what is essential.”

Determine the essential reasons the audience should transition to your service or accept your new idea and leave out everything else.

It should be very clear to the audience why it is in their best interest to adopt your ideas and that kind of clarity can only be achieved through simplicity.


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