As presenters who have been asked to share their knowledge on someone’s stage or at a networking meeting, we all have a tendency to make the same mistake. Naturally, we want to provide value and deliver as much as we possibly can in the time allowed. We also want to prove to the audience that we are well qualified to speak about our topic. As presenters, we can be struck with the curse of knowledge leading to some of the biggest mistakes presenters make.

Too Much Content

It is natural that we want to provide as much value as we can to our audience. After all, we have all this knowledge and we should share as much of it as we can….right?
WRONGThe simple fact is that the human brain can only take in so much information. After that, it can then become confused with surplus information that it does not have the capacity to process at that stage.

Complicated Data and Language

This one is a huge mistake and one I learned very early with public speaking. As we have been invited as the expert it is now time to prove it. We now need to use language that shows we are experts in our field especially when we are speaking to an audience from the same field.  Right?

WRONG

The simple fact is that most of us do not use complicated language in our everyday life. Even though we may learn this way at educational institutions as we take that information and practice it in day to day life we are communicating with people who have not learned the same language or at the same institution.

Let me give you an example. Several years I was delivering a presentation to an audience that was made up of about 50% veterinarians (I was a specialist farrier). Knowing that I was speaking to a highly educated group I brushed up on my scientific terminology. I then rehearsed and used this language in my presentation. It wasn’t until a couple of veterinarians came to me after my presentation and asked if I could explain my presentation that I realised my mistake. I presumed they would remain current with the same terminology and would know what I was speaking about.

As soon as an audience member gets stuck on a word their brain desperately processes this to give it some meaning. While that is going on they are missing our presentation. This recently happened to me as I was watching a documentary. The person being interviewed used a word that I had not heard before and immediately my wife (she did not know it either) and I launched into a discussion about the meaning of the word before heading to the online dictionary. Of course, while this was going on we were not taking any notice of the documentary. Imagine if that were our presentation.

As presenters, we need to make sure that we are using language that our audience uses in everyday life and is simple to understand. If there is a simpler word or phrase to explain concepts and ideas then we should use these to avoid any confusion in the minds of our audience.

Richard Hansen

Richard Hansen

Founder of Impact Presentations

Richard is a professional MC, presentation designer and coach and founder of Impact Presentations.

He is happily married with 3 children and currently lives on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland in Queensland, Australia.

Loves trekking, camping, coffee and generally hanging out with friends and trying new experiences.

Richard’s personal website can be viewed here……