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The Danger of Too Much Information


By Tom Nixon

Too much information? In general, the reason any of us are standing in front of the room for any kind of presentation is that we know what we are talking about. We are experts. We know the material and we have the ability to go deep into our content. And therein lies a problem — especially when it come to visual presentations — we just have too much information and we feel we must deliver it all to our audience.

“A little bit is good. Maybe a few more slides about this…”

“I can tell them about this too…”

“I’ll just show them a quick slide about this — they might like that…”

The problem is not that we have to prove we are experts or that our audience may be very interested. The problem is that an audience can only absorb so much in a live presentation. They can only get so much from your slides and they can only retain so much from your words.

That is why the best presentations focus on a central concept. What one idea is it that you want your audience to walk away with? What do you hope they will remember a week or two after your speech? Build your presentation on that. Make everything, every slide, lead to that destination.

Even though you may feel it would be fascinating to tell them about that non-critical insight you might have, doing so will not move your audience toward your goal — the message that you want them to walk away with.

Don’t tell them everything. Give them the big idea and stay away from too much information.

Tom Nixon has over 3 decades of experience assisting clients with meaningful business communications. Contact Tom to see how he can work with your business leaders and subject matter experts to create stunning visual presentations (PowerPoint, Keynote, etc.) and enhance their on-stage delivery.