Let’s assume for now that you’ve got through the first level of communication – physical – you’re in with a fighting chance. You can now, at least, get to your audience’s head with some…
This, if you remember, is where you get to your audience and explain things in a way that allows them to understand what you’re saying. They now understand the new company policy or X, Y, Z (or at least know that there is one, even if they can’t remember it); they now understand the seven things they need to do in order for A, B and C to happen. Great. It’s not enough, but it’s a great step forward.
My experience of things which can go wrong at this level of communication are:
- the curse of the expert (but you’re past that now, right?!)
- simply trying to say too much and/or assuming your audience remembers what you say or show them
Let’s deal briefly with the first two points in one go.
|Curse of the expert||
||Trying to say too much|
|This shouldn’t be a problem for you any more, as we cover it in quite a bit of detail elsewhere in this training! Go back and make sure you’ve got things like the Twitter Test exercise sorted!|
A few pieces of advice, based upon a lot of experience, are that:
||This is depressingly common. The mindset behind it goes like this “I know my material and there’s so much to say I don’t know where to start so I’ll try and cover as much as I can in the 20 minutes I’ve got”. What happens of course is that the more information you give people the less they remember and – frankly – this approach makes it more likely that you’ll go over time and annoy everyone.|
Fortunately the solution is simple – even though it’s not necessarily easy! – cut your content according to your time-frame. The module on designing your presentation is critical here!
Exercise: go back and reconsider the sections on designing using cards and think about how you’d decide what to cut if you find you are short of time.
Remember to set up your Presenter View in your slide deck so that it shows you how long you’ve taken and how long you estimate you should have taken by the time you get to that point. That way you’ll know where you are according to your timetable. When you know that, it’s much easier to know if you should skip a section (see the separate section coming up shortly!). Also – remember that it’s much, much harder to decide to cut something in the heat of the moment… which means it’s often a good idea to make those hard choices during the design or rehearsal stages of your presentation.
Put that information into your notes, so you know immediately what to do and any given point during your performance.
In the next section, coming up soon, we’ll look at how to handle the jargon!