I have always considered myself detail-oriented and liked to share these details regardless of the audience. I consistently have to remind myself to “know the audience” in order to determine how much detail to include in a presentation, especially in business. Is it an executive summary or an in-depth analysis? The amount of detail will vary based on the audience needs. However, Ed Tate, the 2000 Toastmaster World Champion, seemed to speak directly to me at the 2010 District 45 Fall Conference when he said, “Less is more.”
I felt as though I had been making strides in my business presentations by sticking to the key points; however, this was harder for me to grasp in my non-business-related speeches. I found myself giving intimate details about a person, possibly even including what he or she was wearing. Although “painting the picture” is critical, it must be carefully crafted so that the audience can formulate their own thoughts and descriptions. Ed’s point was to give the audience enough to begin to use their own imagination to paint a picture without detracting from the story and message. If you are discussing an event, details like the trip to get there may be irrelevant if they don’t connect to the main point. Eliminating immaterial background information will enhance the critical parts of the story. Less detail will create more of an impact if done correctly.
Thomas B. Dowd III’s books The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World (Honorable Mention at the 2012 New England Book Festival) and From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide (2013 Axiom Business Book Awards Gold Medal Winner and 2013 Paris Book Festival Honorable Mention) are available under “Products” on www.transformationtom.com. Book and eBook purchase options are also available on Amazon- Please click the link to be re-directed: Amazon.com
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