There’s no doubt about it, we are living in the technology era where information is spread like wildfire. Thanks to the Internet, there are endless amounts of resources for gathering information. And if you are giving a presentation that’s heavy on the content side, you might find yourself losing track on how to organize it. Most importantly, you might lose your audience. So how do you find the perfect balance to manage lots of information in a presentation?
According to a new Pew Research study, only 20% of Americans say they feel overwhelmed by “information overload,” while 77% say they like having so much information readily available. This is a sign that we are a society are becoming more accustom to the constant flow of information. Back in 2006, 27% of Americans said they felt overloaded by information, while 67% said they liked having so much information. These numbers may sound promising to a presenter, but still be mindful of that portion of the audience who struggle with lots of information. It’s all about how you organize it in your presentation.
When dealing with a lot of content for your presentation, keep these three questions in mind:
Who is your audience?
What is the purpose of your presentation?
What are the three main points you want your audience to take away from your talk?
It is important to have structure your presentation around these three concepts. This keeps your content organized and flowing. Each presentation, like every story ever told, has a beginning, a middle and an end. The most practical way to begin a presentation is to talk about what you are going to say and introduce yourself. The middle of your presentation should focus on saying what you told your audience you were going to say, and back that information up with your content. End your presentation by reviewing what you just said, and giving a call to action.
Remember to drive home your main points at the very beginning and very end of your presentation. Our philosophy at Ethos3 is the Rule of 3; stick to just having 3 main points to deliver in your presentation. The best way to make sure you circle back to them is by using a story or metaphor. If you are introducing a solution to a problem, humanize it with a character. For example:
This is Greg. He’s having trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. This makes Greg tired, groggy, and irritated throughout the day. But now that Greg started taking our sleeping aid, he’s alert, energized and back to his normal self.
Or take a more personal approach and talk about a moment in your life that inspired you to create your product or service. Talking about a real-life experience can put your message in a context that everyone will understand. Stories also are also easier for your audience to remember. Work your story back in at the end of your presentation and recap your 3 main points so that your audience will walk out remembering your presentation.
Take a bird’s eye view of your presentation and make sure your main points are clearly stated and explained. You should be able to explain why one slide follows another. Keeping your message as simple as possible is key. You will have an easier time delivering your presentation and flowing from one point to the next. Your audience will have an easier time understanding your content and remembering it.
Read More: The Importance of Flow in a Presentation
An audience can only take in so much information at a time, so make sure your give them a break during a content-heavy presentation. The average audience tends to start losing concentration after ten minutes. While you are practicing your presentation, find creative ways to break up the flow with a video or joke. If you push past this 10 minute mark, you will start to see your audience lose interest and attention.
Read More: The Science of Memorable Presentations
If you find yourself having to exclude information to meet a time deadline, consider putting additional information on a handout. This way, your audience walks out with something they can refer to when thinking back on your presentation. This is also a great way to interact with your audience. Make sure your handout looks professional and has those 3 main points addressed along with your additional content.
Don’t let a lot of content overwhelm you or your audience. There are ways to approach and deliver a presentation that will make your content clear and easy to understand. Follow these guidelines and get in plenty of practice to find the best way to organize your content and find the perfect balance.
Still need more help with your presentation?We've got the solutions. Talk to Us