by: Ellen Egan
One of your main goals as a public speaker is to ensure that your audience remembers your key messages. If you audience doesn’t remember what you came to say in your presentation, then there is little point in getting up on the stage at all. So, how do we go about ensuring that the audience remembers what we want them to remember.
Define your key messages. First of all, as you are preparing your presentation, take the time to clearly define your key messages. What are the 3-5 ideas that you want them to walk away with? By the way, if you can’t put this into 3-5 clear, concise sentences, then you need to focus all of your attention on this part of your presentation.
Look at it from your audience’s point of view. Look at your key messages and think about them from your audience’s point of view. Why are these things meaningful for them? Does it solve a problem for them, or perhaps make their lives easier? If you can present your messages from their viewpoint, they are more likely to 1. pay attention, 2. remember what you have said and 3. take whatever action you recommend.
First things first. Studies have shown that when given a list of things to remember, people are most successful at remembering the first and last items in the list. This is called primacy and recency. This means that people remember the first and last messages from your presentation and the stuff in the middle is a bit of a blur. So, what you should do is be sure to put the most important messages at the beginning and the end. Another option is to be sure to recap at the end and include all of your key messages.
Keep it short. If people are more likely to remember what you say at the beginning and the end, then this is a great argument for keeping your presentation nice and short. Then there is less stuff in the middle for them to forget. I have heard some great advice to keep all presentation to no more than 20 minutes. I think this is fabulous advice. If your presentation is focused, interesting, lively, framed from the audience’s needs and short, then you will be delivering successful presentations (and enjoying public speaking at the same time).
To your success,