Archive for March, 2014|Monthly archive page

How Much Information Is The Right Amount?

In Business Presentations, PowerPoint, Public Speaking on March 22, 2014 at 8:21 AM

The topic of the talk was on the 7 key points to marketing. Seven. A good number, but much too high if the speaker expected the audience to remember her points. Instead of giving us 7 points of marketing, most people left remembering few, if any of the points she provided. How did this happen?

It has to do with how people learn. Each of us can retain and organize a certain number of bits of new information when it is received. While the actual number is different for everyone, the magic number for most is 3-5.  Most people can absorb, organize, and remember a maximum of 3 to 5 bits of new information at a time.

You can pour water on a sponge and it will soak it up until it reaches saturation and the rest runs off. With the human brain though, when we reach saturation, it is like someone is squeezing the sponge draining us of almost all the new information we 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.

If her talk had been on the 3 key elements of marketing, there is a greater chance her audience would have left remembering her words.

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.

When planning a presentation, it is easy to figure out what you want to say. It is very hard to determine what you should eliminate.

In presenting information, less is truly more. But only if you want people to remember your words.


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