Speak for Yourself

Claire Duffy's blog about public speaking and communication (in real life). Speak well, do well!

Public Speaking mistake #1 Too Much Information

No I’m not complaining about people who embarrass us with details of their dental dramas, or their sex life, I’m talking about how to avoid the ‘TMI’  which is THE most common of all public speaking mistakes. Again and again I hear speakers  saying far too much about what they know, and not nearly enough about what the audience will engage with and remember.

Want your listeners to get information overload? Easy. Tell them lots of  facts. Want to start an epidemic of mind-wandering, day dreaming and going to sleep? Simple, load them up with data.

All speeches and presentations are intended either to inform, persuade, or entertain. In practice, you need to combine these three modes  to be both memorable and effective. The kinds of content you include in your speech will vary according to its purpose. Take a look at this venn diagram.

The art of being a great presenter is to balance load between the three channels so that you get the results you want.

When we smile we feel good – give your audience that experience. Entertain them with humour, stories and anecdotes so they are relaxed and receptive.

Persuade them by being emotionally engaging – your own passion and conviction will be infectious.

Inform them in ways they can make use of. Choose only the most useful points of information to talk about and make it clear what you want them to DO as a result of what they’ve heard. That gives your presentation a purpose.

Information doesn’t all have to be delivered verbally, it can also be provided in writing, as a report, handout, or supplementary paper.

For more on this see my post on Presenting Data and Statistics.

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