Friday, 18 June 2010

Business Presentations - Why Less Is More

Over the last 20 years, I have sat through many hundreds of business presentations. Almost all of them had one thing in common - information overload.

Don't subject your audience to information overload. The gut reaction of thoughtless presenters is to cram their talks with far too much material. They endeavour to protect themselves with too much content...they cram 90 minutes of material into a 15-minute talk...they survive!


Get your material together however you want and then go straight back to your objective (what you want to achieve) and hack the superfluous stuff out of there!

Only include in your talk what you need to achieve your objective. Including unnecessary material will only cloud your objective; it will surround it with a fog and make it difficult for your audience to see it.


Remember that your audience is only interested on one thing. They want to know what your subject means for THEM. Don't talk about what's important to you, or what you want. Instead talk about why it's important to them and what they want.

If it's a selling presentation, talk benefits not features. Make it customer focused not product focused. Don't list the features of your company or product without then making it clear why that feature will be of benefit to the customer. 'We have 25 offices spread throughout the UK (feature)...which means that we can provide you with a local service (benefit).


In fact, subject all of your material through the 'So What?' test. Imagine you are a member of your audience and 'listen' to your talk. If you could say, 'So What?' to anything you say, then cut it out or say it differently.

Check your material for abstractions. 'We have developed a methodology to highlight the risks in your processes and to increase the usability of customer focussed information from a strategic point of view.' I beg your pardon! Say what you mean...use examples if the words don't make it crystal clear what you are talking about.


Don't worry about not having enough to say. It is far better that your audience goes away remembering one or two important points, than having heard ten points and not remembering any of them. Human memory is limited. Think of last nights news on the TV. Although you may have watched it intently, how much of the detail can you remember?

Limit the scope of the material you want to cover and spend your time thinking of how you can make your points memorable and interesting for the audience. Stories and examples are an excellent way of doing this.

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