Speaking concisely and to the point is a much-needed skill in business. Presenters who are brief and on target appear more knowledgeable than those who ramble from detail to detail. Many presenters believe the opposite: that the more they share, the better everyone will think they know the subject. That is just not true.
Here is a wonderful quote I just read:
Knowledge is power, which is why people who had it in the past often tried to make a secret of it. In post-capitalism, power comes from transmitting information to make it productive, not from having it.
– Peter Drucker, writer of 39 books, management consultant, and university professor)
The key is to accurately gauge what and how much information your audience needs to know. Then you can speak in short sentences, not connect your sentences with information your audience really cannot process or take action on. Someone who is used to talking without pausing sometimes says “and” only to realize there really is not another point to make about the subject. The person struggles to think of something to say, ending up with a string of “and, um’s.”
Second, a good presenter will leave out extra filler phrases. For example, when using slides, the presenter will not say as every new slide comes up, “as you can see here” or “we put this information on the slide to…” Once in a while these phrases may be used for impact, but not for every slide.
Lastly, less is more. A concise presenter says less in a relaxed manner rather than more very quickly, with tension in voice and posture. A concise, well-organized presentation errs on the short side. Remember, it all goes back to the executive summary that you have prepared – or should have prepared! Your executive summary allows you to be concise and look and sound like you have done your homework. Always ask yourself: How will this level of information make my audience more productive in terms of taking action or making better decisions?
Claudyne Wilder coaches executives, managers, and salespeople on how to deliver presentations that get to the message. Her clients give compelling, passionate presentations. Her company has an ongoing contract to give her Get to the Message: Present with a Purpose workshop at a Fortune 100 Global Pharmaceutical Company. Claudyne brings a unique and invigorating perspective to her work from her years of studying the Argentine Tango.
Do visit Claudyne’s site at Wilder Presentations to sign up for her blog, her tweets or to download some free presenting tools.
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