Today’s blog is one of those periodic reminders (yup, I’m still on it!) that too much information, or the wrong kind of information, or information that’s really only interesting to you can kill a speech or presentation.
The kind of info and how much info you bring to a talk is completely driven and determined by careful, thoughtful consideration of your audience. Some specific questions can help:
Will they be in the room by choice, or do they have to be there? The answer to this question will help you prioritize and be extremely selective about amounts of info. And the amount of time you spend sharing info. If they’re in the room by choice, you have a heck of a lot more time and latitude. If not, well then, you do the math!
What do they really care about? Once again, not what do you really care about, but what do they really care about? Okay, so your topic is one thing, but is that what they really care about? Or is there something deeper? For instance, let’s say you’re a doctor addressing a group of senior citizens, and your topic is ‘Geriatric Healthcare Trends’ … hmmmm, I’m going out on a limb and guessing that one of the issues they really care about is cost, $$, healthcare reform. Whenever possible, think a little more deeply and anticipate your audience’s needs, interests and expectations surrounding your topic.
Where are they in terms of knowledge or sophistication or interest level? It’s tricky at times, but talking either over or under an audience is a turnoff. And talking about things that excite you but may not be at all interesting to your audience is also alienating. Let’s say you’re technically savvy and speaking to a general audience about some hot new phone app and how it works, you may want to use analogies or metaphors to convey your information in an interesting and understandable way.
Info comes in lots of varieties – e.g. data, statistics, examples, anecdotes, even analogies – and is used to support a point, a message. Let your audience be your guide when you’re selecting the quantity and quality of your info.
Communications Coach at SmartMouth Communications
SmartMouth Founder and Principal Beth Noymer Levine is a Communications Coach who is emerging as one of the country’s leading voices on how to prepare and deliver speeches and presentations that actually work for both the audience and the speaker.