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Have you been asked to repeat yourself, to speak up, or to be talked over at meetings? The sound of your voice can be enhanced so your listeners are not only …

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Limit Your Presentation to a Few Key Points to Reduce Stage Fright

Limit Your Presentation to a Few Key Points to Reduce Stage Fright

by Doug Staneart

While Doug Staneart focuses on presentations in this article, these suggestions are also great tips for public speaking. Specifically, he offers some solid public speaking help in this article as he smartly discusses the audience and what they can “mentally manage” in one presentation. Communicating in the workplace isn’t easy but when you focus on what your listeners can take away from your presentation, they are more likely to remember what you said.

One of the big challenges that we have to overcome as speakers is that we tend to think that if we don’t get the audience to understand EVERYTHING that we know about the subject that we are speaking on, then we have failed as a speaker. That is an impossible standard to live up to, but it is what most of us have in mind when we are designing our presentations.

For most people, we begin to design our presentations by thinking about everything that we know about the subject, and then trying to catalogue that information either on paper or into a PowerPoint slideshow. Once we get everything written down, the next step is to try to figure out how to get ALL of that information into the timeframe that we have for the speech.

This type of preparation makes it very difficult for your audience to come away with a concise understanding of what you covered, and makes it extremely difficult to deliver. (By the way, it makes you BOOOOORING too.)

One of the things that we know about the human mind is that we like to compartmentalize things, and the brain likes to focus on just a few key pieces of information at a time. So instead of trying to pack your presentation with a ton of data, focus on just a few key items at a time.

The brain can comprehend one item pretty easily. Two items are not so tough to remember. Three items give a balance between variety and precision. Four or five items in one sitting are okay, but make it more difficult to retain the information. Once the information that you are covering exceeds five key points, it will be extremely difficult for your audience to remember the items that you covered. Since that is the case, limit your talking points to just a few key concepts, and then back up those key points with data, stories, analogies, etc. to add some meat to your presentation.

If you have a lot of information that you HAVE to present to your audience and it is critical that the audience remembers the information, then it’s a good idea to give them the information in bite-sized pieces. A good way to do this is to take breaks from time to time to limit the data that is being delivered in one sitting. For instance, if you have ten things to cover in a morning meeting, cover three points and take a ten-minute break. Then come back and cover three or four more points, and take a ten-minute break before coming back and finishing the talk. When you design your presentations this way, you’ll get your audience to retain much more of the material that you deliver.

If you are limited on time, and you have to deliver a bunch of data, then you have to manage your expectations. Your audience is much less likely to remember the information, so you might want to prepare a handout with a summary of the data. Regardless, realize that no matter how good of a presenter that you are, if you data dump on your audience, they will be fairly distant from you and likely to be bored.

In public speaking, less is more!

Article Source: EzineArticles

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