November 5, 2007

Less is more

As I mentioned in my last post, sometimes a speaker gets caught up in the need to give the audience too much information.

In preparing a presentation, she starts working on her outline, and quickly realizes that there's no way, in an hour, she can share everything she knows on her topic. For that matter, there's no way to share everything she knows in a day or weekend workshop, either. She's an expert and she's spent years developing her knowledge and skills.

She panics and wonders how she can teach her audience anything with such restrictions. She fears that the audience won't learn enough and worse, that she might be damaging her "expert" status if she doesn't demonstrate the full extent of her knowledge.

Instead of looking at this as a sort of prison, where the constraints of time act as her chains, she might instead look at this as an incredible amount of freedom!

When you narrow your focus and provide fewer options to your audience, you can be more clear, more concise, and give each idea more thought and discussion.

Rather than experiencing a hurricane of ideas (or a typhoon if you're west of the International Date Line), your audience can instead absorb the subject matter in a way that allows for deeper connection with and understanding of your concepts and message.

Choose the ideas that are relevant to your audience right now. Cut, edit, delete, tighten, condense, omit and fine tune. Let go of and save the rest for future presentations, e-books, blog posts, newsletter articles or your upcoming book.

You're doing the audience a favor by not overwhelming them with information. Try it and see how freeing it can be!

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2 comments. Please add yours! :

Unknown said...

This may be an off subject comment but... I hate it when speakers have so much content that they blow right through the schedule. This happens a lot at conferencez. Arghghghghg.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Ugh - I came close to doing that today. I haven't worked all the kinks out of a new presentation I recently developed, and I realized I was going long (because I use my trusty travel clock at every presentation), so checked in with the group to find out what their time was like.

Turned out they all had to leave in fifteen minutes, so I wrapped it up in five. It's always important to be looking at a clock, so you know if you're on target or not!

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