Presentation Skills Articles

Essential Presentation Skills

Brevity in Your Presentations

written by Jan D'Arcy

Years ago the first cave people sat around a fire and told their friends stories. Their audience fell asleep, threw a rock at him or her, or listened attentively. The objective then and today is to get people to pay attention to what you are saying or be able to adroitly dodge slings and arrows. Care about your audience, be sincere but be brief.

Audiences want to hear your points and leave.

Regardless of how fascinated you are with your subject, or consider your message absolutely critical, most people get bored very quickly and want to get on with other things.

You can condense your thoughts into a meaningful presentation.

Consider that Lincoln's Gettysburg address is a scant 269 words in length. Jefferson's Declaration of Independence is 1,337 words. Wisdom can be found in simplicity.

Your audiences are used to short sound bites of information and attention spans are being measured in seconds.

The younger the audience, the more impatient they are. Teens participating in a focus group said email is "something used to talk to 'old people' and is, like, so yesterday." They favor exchanging short, rapid dialogue with online instant messaging. Your listeners may be older, but no one relishes sitting through slide after slide of confusing text. Prune your slides like you would prune a rosebush. You will end up with a more beautiful rose and a more powerful speech.

Twenty percent of what you say makes 80% of the impact.

Phoenix speech writer Phil Theibert says "Keep it simple, keep it plain, tell them the truth and get the hell out of there."

Be clear and succinct in
your next presentation.

Finish early.

Your audience will sigh in relief
and you won't be a target!

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Technically Speaking:
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”You helped our Marketing and Communications Managers condense a lot of detailed material into a short amount of time. The best part was that they took your advice to ”make it interactive” and were able to establish rapport quickly and maintain a dialogue with the sales reps throughout their presentations. I think the run-throughs on videotape and your critiques allowed them to shift their emphasis to the audience, delivering information that was needed and useful.”

Bob Betz, VP
Stimson Lane
Woodinville, WA

Try some of the techniques I have suggested. Let me know by email if they help you achieve rapport in your next presentation or you have further questions.

Check out my monthly Blog as we will continue to discuss techniques to help you become a Compelling Speaker.


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Jan D'Arcy & Associates
330 2nd Ave South #12 Kirkland, WA 98033     |    (206)-683-2982