3 Reasons Why Shorter Presentations Pack More Power!
“Brevity is the best recommendation of speech, whether in a senator or an orator..” – Marcus Tullius Cicero
Have you ever talked to a friend, colleague, or your boss and were wondering during the conversation, “What is his/her main point?” I know I have. If you are not careful, the same thing could happen during your presentations.
The article this week delves into why shorter presentations keep your audience engaged with you, are easier for your audience to follow, and what advantages they bring to you as a speaker.
Shorter Presentations Keep Your Audience Engaged
In November 1863, two people spoke on the Gettysburg Battlefield. The first speaker was eloquent but rambled on for two hours. The second speaker spoke only 272 words. You know the second speaker who delivered The Gettysburg Address – President Abraham Lincoln. Do you remember who the first speaker was? Probably not. The first speaker was then famed orator and former Secretary of State Edward Everett. Who do you think kept the audience engaged? Abraham Lincoln was able to keep his audience engaged because his speech was short. He made every word count. You should also when you present in front of your audiences.
One of my mentors, the radio personality Earl Nightingale, said, “The only obligation of a speaker is to make their presentation interesting.” To be interesting, you must say just enough to get your point across and then sit down. There is a saying in public speaking circles – “Be bold, be brief, be gone.” Your interesting presentation gets less interesting as time goes on. Don’t fall in love with the sound of your voice.
I recently heard a speaker drone on for 28 minutes where other speakers of the same subject usually speak for 10 – 15 minutes. How do I know it was 28 minutes? I kept an eye on my watch. I have heard this speaker before and knew he was long-winded. The main problem with long presentations is they confuse the audience. Long presentations tend to have spots where the audience thinks the speaker is concluding. When the speaker does not end, the audience wonders where will the speaker end. This causes your audience to disengage. Don’t let this happen with your presentations.
So, shorter presentations keep your audience engaged. It also makes your presentations easier to follow.
Shorter Presentations are Easier to Follow for Your Audience
Toastmasters tells us whether your presentation is 10 minutes, one hour, or three hours, have only three main points. Why is this? This is because your audience can easily remember the three main points of your presentation. It is as simple as that.
Think of famous speeches from history and how long they were
George Washington – 2nd Inaugural Address (1793) (135 words)
Martin Luther King – “I Have a Dream” speech (1963) (17 minutes)
Neil Armstrong – “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” (1969) (12 words)
Read the above speeches and you will find them easy to follow mostly because of their brevity. Every word was painstakingly crafted to “pull its weight” and directly contribute to the speaker’s main points.
Remember, you should only have three points in your speech. After every point, review the previous points. This will make it easier your audience to follow your logic. It will also help your audience see how each main point builds on the previous main point.
So, shorter presentations keep your audience engaged and make your presentation easier to follow. But what advantages do they give you, the speaker?
Shorter Presentations Provide Advantages to the Speaker
Shorter presentations are easier to present because there is less material to remember to present. Put together a set of bullet points which are your main points supported by sub-bullet points.
Because shorter presentations are easier to present, they give you time to truly craft how you want to say the words in your presentation. Always speak ideas and not words. Wean yourself off of the actual words on paper.
Because your presentation is short, you will not get confused by the different parts of your presentation. Memorize the ideas of your presentation’s three main points and their sub-points (three sub-points per main point). Speak ideas, not words.
Because your presentation is shorter, your visuals can be simpler and easier to follow for your audience. Use images liberally on your visuals. Limit the text as much as you can or even eliminate the text on your visuals altogether, if possible. The amount of attention your audience gives to you and your message is inversely proportionate to the amount of text you have on your visuals. The more text on your visuals, the less the audience will be listening to you. So decrease the text on your visuals and increase the impact of your presentation.
So, what have we covered in this article? Shorter presentations keep your audience engaged, make it easier for the audience to follow your main points and, therefore, increase your presentations impact, and, finally, shorter presentations provide the speaker with distinct advantages over longer presentations.
If you make your points in a shorter presentation, it will have more impact. Who wouldn’t want that!
“In making a speech one must study three points: first, the means of producing persuasion; second, the language; third the proper arrangement of the various parts of the speech.” – Aristotle
Looking for professional services to help you significantly increase your influence with your audiences? Contact DiBartolomeo Consulting International (DCI) at firstname.lastname@example.org or Office – (703) 815-1324 Cell/Text – (703) 509-4424