The importance of editing presentations-(let’s cut the blah, blah, blah)
Franklin D. Roosevelt once said that of public speaking; “Be sincere, be brief, and be seated”. These wise words, spoken long before the advent of PowerPoint, are no less relevant today and possibly are even more so, given that we live in a society that wants everything right now. If you are serious about improving your presentation skills then you really do need to focus on being a good editor.
Keeping presentations concise is probably one of the biggest challenges a presenter can face-the difficult of knowing what can be safely thrown out, what are the best ideas to run retain, and what if the key messages don’t come across clearly.
The trouble is a long, in-depth presentation will only result in your audience switching off early in the proceedings, leaving you with no chance of getting those all important points across at all. That’s where the skill of good editing comes in.
How to edit your presentation content
- Start with the core message. Decide what it is that you want your audience to take, or learn from your presentation.
- Now support that message with a maximum of three key points. This will give your presentation a structure that is easier for your audience to follow.
- By all means use examples to illustrate your points, but stick to one example per point. Entertaining as your story telling may be, you don’t want it to become the most memorable part of your presentation.
- Think about the length of the sentences you use. Short sentences have more impact. Long and meandering sentences will only result in your audience- any maybe even yourself-losing the thread.
- Don’t subject your audience to the dreaded ‘death by Powerpoint!. Keep your slide clear and simple. Feature only one idea per slide and make sure each slide is relevant to what you are saying. Take a look at this TED talk by David Phillips
Remember that people’s attention spans are not likely to extend that long. Editing can take time to master, but the shorter and sharper your content is the more likely you are to engage your audience.