The topic of the talk was the 7 key advantages to social networking. Seven. A good number, but much too high if the speaker expected the audience to remember the points. Instead of us learning the 7 ways social networking can help us, most people left the room remembering few, if any of the points she provided. How did this happen?
As learners, we can only retain and organize a certain amount of new information when it is received. While the actual number is different for everyone, the magic number for most is 3 to 5. Most people can absorb, organize, and remember a maximum of 3 to 5 bits of new information at a time. When a person reaches their saturation point, rather than remembering everything up to that point – we tend to forget it all.
If you pour water on a sponge, it will soak up and hold the water until it reaches saturation. Any additional water simply runs off, but the sponge holds what it first took in. With the human brain though, when we reach saturation, it is like someone squeezes the sponge draining almost all the new information that was gained.
While her talk was good and informative, while she clearly is a subject matter expert, I left the talk an hour ago and am not sure I could tell you even one of the 7 points. My brain reached saturation and I lost it all.
Effective presentations are built around 1 central theme or message. This message is supported by 3-5 sub topics or bits of information. Any more than that and you will lose too many of your audience members.
If her talk had been on the 3 key elements of social networking, there is a greater chance the audience would have left remembering her words.
In presenting information, less is truly more. But only if you want people to remember your words.
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