Cut the Information, And Increase the Engagement


Conference speakers announce the results of a three-year research project. Brilliant innovative research that is perfect for all audiences. It was enough to grab everyone’s attention – even though he looked like he was reading the slides – they were eight to ten sentences long each. On the fifth slide, attention wanes, and on the tenth, most emails check their headphones. And he’s got eighteen more slides!

We’ve all been there – in the audience (I can hear your moans!). Sometimes you play the role of the speaker – tasked with sharing your important information with colleagues, colleagues, managers, employees and/or customers. How is it done and NOT fall into the trap described above? Here are some tips.

This is not a buffet

Some talkative speakers will try to serve it as a buffet. They think, “I just put it all in front of them and they can choose what they like.” He can work with guests, but with the audience he just confuses them. You are overwhelmed with possibilities and in the end you remember nothing. It’s much better to serve it la carte – to put the dish in front of them so they can enjoy and appreciate it.

You have to set priorities

You won’t remember everything you said. In fact, some studies show that even good speakers get only 10% retention. That first auditory complex information needs to highlight important points. No listener can keep more than five to seven points in a meeting. So you have to determine which points he will defend. It’s even better if you can sort them by importance. This helps them understand the information. Otherwise, only the data is “thrown”. Use phrases like:

“And the most important moment here is…”

“If you can only remember one thing from all of this, do it…”

“What we learned the most from him was…”

Does this mean you may have to skip some information from your presentation? If so, that’s okay. Prepare handouts or include additional information in conference reports; but don’t rush through a mountain of information that shouldn’t fit your allotted time. This is cruel to your audience and damages your reputation.

You have to repeat yourself

Summarize all your points – not just at the end, but throughout the presentation. As you move from one point to another, recall the points you have covered so far. This helps them keep the information in context. Like a message on the MRT telling you which line you are on and the name of the next station, it helps you understand where you are going.

Change mode

Simple transmission of information – usually behind an exhibition stand, supported by words on a slide – is one way of transmission. This is the most effective mode for part of your presentation; However, since this is often the only mode used by bad speakers, it should only be used if there is no other alternative. You can avoid this by switching modes regularly during your presentation. Here are a few ways you can do this:

• Give examples, stories, cases and anecdotes

• Use comparisons with known concepts to explain new concepts

• Use pictures and graphics to illustrate points; but make sure they are clear and show only images that match the point you are talking about.

• Show samples, souvenirs, gifts, etc. (as long as it’s big enough for everyone to see)

• Clear the screen to get all the attention while making important points

• Exit from the rear of the cab (if possible)

A good rule of thumb is to try to change the way you move at least every seven minutes.

NEVER underestimate the value of stories. Choose carefully so as not to take too long to explain; However, always remember that the story in your presentation will be the most engaging and most likely to be remembered by the audience. Experience has also shown that this is the part of the presentation you are most comfortable with.

Use emotionally intelligent exchange of information

To create engagement and self-control, presentations must combine logic and emotion; So don’t just think about what you want them to know at the end of your presentation, think about how you want them to feel to remind yourself.

Talking to a group is an ineffective way of conveying information. However, it has proven to be a great way for people to prioritize your information and be influenced by it. This is especially important at a time when everyone is flooded with information.

Kevin is an experienced conference speaker, facilitator, moderator and MC. He has 25 years of experience as a professional lecturer.

He runs his own business in Brisbane, Australia, speaks at conferences and seminars in Australia, New Zealand, Asia and the UK and specializes in sales, negotiation, business humor and communication skills. His clients include multinational organizations, politicians, members of the judiciary, Olympic athletes, and top athletes.

He is the co-author of nine books on communication skills and business humor widely used in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, the UK and South Africa. His articles have been published in major daily newspapers in Australia and Asia.