PPP#4 — The more info the more credibility

Persistent Presentation Paradigm #4: “The best way to show competence in a presentation: put it all on the slides. Displaying all the detail and research proves that I know what I am talking about.”

Do you, really? Does showing everything really make our presentation worthwhile, relevant, and finally bring the point home? Does it prove our competence? Of course we are there to inform our listeners; they might even demand lots of background information. However, this kind of information belongs in a printed handout, not on the screen. Only the relevant points of our topic that lead to our final conclusion, belong in our presentation — nothing more and nothing less.

If all you want to do is create a file of facts and figures, then cancel the meeting and send in a report. Do it in PowerPoint if you want, but it’s not a presentation, it’s a report. — Seth Godin, Really Bad PowerPoint

When we are trying to make a point, we have a clear aim, something we want to achieve, to persuade our listeners of. If we don’t have a goal, we’d be well advised to find one. The time we have is finite. Showing everything means showing nothing. A successful presentation stays focused on the topic, the essentials related to that topic, the listeners, and their needs. If not, our talk get mudded down and we will loose focus — and our audience with it.

Credibility certainly comes from the knowledge we possess, and the information we chose — but it doesn’t end here. What makes us really credible is how we handle our knowledge, how we are able to pass it on to our listeners. If we make them feel stupid we end up looking stupid, too.

Paule Wendelberger