It is common for a presenter to come prepared with many examples, case studies, and stats to reinforce the central message of their presentation. This is a good thing.
But unless you’re sharing the company’s financial records at the quarterly review, relying too heavily on charts, graphs, and data could be killing your flow.
Here are several common problems you can run into, and good reasons to avoid the mistake of too much data when you are presenting.
Boring Your Audience
Event attendees are certainly there to learn something, but if you focus too heavily on the learning side, and not enough on the entertainment side, you could be boring your audience.
There are basically three components to good content: education, entertainment, and enlightenment (or inspiration). Your presentation should do at least one of these things well, and if you can find a good mix between the three, even better.
But even if your main goal is to educate, there are always ways of presenting the information in an engaging manner. Merely reciting data won’t capture and hold your audience.
You need to look for ways to connect your story to the data you share. You might even consider cutting down on data and instead emphasizing story and real-life examples.
Overwhelming Your Audience
Overwhelm and boredom can go hand-in-hand, but there are plenty of speakers who are guilty of trying to cram too much into a single presentation.
The presentation should really just revolve around one central topic. You can use illustrations and examples, and share several anecdotes or supporting points, but at the end of the day you shouldn’t try to squeeze in all that you can.
It’s understandable that you might go overboard, because you probably want to add as much value to attendees as you possibly can. But you are mistaken if you think that throwing all the information you have at them at rapid fire is going to keep them engaged.
Find a meaningful balance. Make it easy for your audience to understand what you are trying to share with them.
Failing To Make An Emotional Connection
What are some fundamental things every person wants? A sense of connection? Love? Fame? Fortune?
To disregard basic human drive is to make some serious errors with your presentation. We are hardwired to feel and experience through emotion. Storytelling is one of the best ways to awaken and stir something within the hearts of your audience.
For example, you could read from a phone book. A phone book is filled with relevant, truthful information (depending on what you’re looking for). You could read out names and addresses, and you wouldn’t be saying anything false.
But as we all instinctively know, that would be boring. Even though the information might be useful, most would tune it out because it isn’t being shared in an impacting way.
Too much data poses the same danger. What you’re sharing might be true, even valuable, but if you don’t have a good mix of story, anecdote, valuable insight, and data, you’ll miss the mark every time.
Presentations need to be crafted to appeal to the human psyche – after all, you’re not going to be speaking to machines!
It is good to back up your assumptions or supporting points with data, but that should not be the central focus of your talk, lest it become dull and uninteresting.
It is possible to engage with data, but only when you use it strategically. The bulk of your presentation needs to be about the people you’re sharing with.
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