Think about the last presentation you attended (virtual or in-person). Do you have a good mental image of it? Now ask yourself how many of the speech key points you actually remember from that presentation.
In 20+ years of instructing all kinds of presentation skills classes, I have asked this “key points” question to hundreds of participants. Their answers have ranged from “zero” (a little sad) to “five” on the high end. Zero was a much more common response than five. In all those years of asking participants this question, only a handful were able to say they remember five.
Social Security and telephone numbers are presented in three groups (3-2-4 and 3-3-4, respectively) because it is much easier to remember three groups than nine or ten sequential digits. This is significant because when we present information to people, we must have an impact on our listeners.
When planning your presentation, keep this question in mind: What is the purpose? What do you want them to do? Then, ask yourself what are the three key points that support that? If you are planning to use material that doesn’t support that purpose, don’t. It is not worth including.
Once you have the core message or purpose for your audience, and you have organized your presentation into (at most) three key points, you are ready to present. This preparation will make your talk more memorable and your audience will be more likely to take action.
This information is referenced in our Presentation Skills curriculum. If you’re looking for ways to improve your communication skills, register for one of our public classes. Click here for more information.
|Meet blog author and Improving Communications|
Instructor John Epstein.
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