Data Dumps belong in the Garbage

You may not like the guys at Microsoft, but there's a reason they created two seperate programs: Microsoft Powerpoint and Microsoft Word.

Most presenters make the mistake of confusing presentations with documents. They do not understand the difference between the two. They do not understand that each serves an entirely different function, and hence should be prepared very differently.

 Public Speaking Sin: Confusing Presentations with Documents
There's a huge difference between a presentation and a document.

A written document is supposed to contain all the details about a particular project - elaborate graphs, tables, long explanations, fine print. People can access the written document anytime they want and go over the all the details.

A presentation, on the other hand, is VERY different from a document. A presentation should only contain the most important information. Unfortunately, many presenters do not seem to understand this and subsequently end up copying large chunks of text into their Power-point presentations...a recipie for disaster.

  • Presentation Tip 1: Do Not Copy Chunks of Text from Word to Powerpoint

The other common problem is that many presenters feel the need to cover everything in their presentations. They'll do a data dump - outlining all the tiny details, listing all the points, but never really adequately explaining enough. As a result, when audience members walk out of the presentation, they walk out remembering nothing.

  • Presentation Tip 2: Cover Only the Most Important & Relevant Points
Instead of doing a data dump on your audience, cover only the most imporant and relevant points. Cover only the points that the audience needs to know...and leave everything else (all the details) for a written document. In this way, you'll be able to ensure that your audience will not feel overwhelmed with the flood of information. 

Before you include any specific point in your presentation, ask yourself "Why do my audience members need to know this? How will this point help me enforce my key message?" If a particular point/chart/graph can be done without, then don't include it in the presentation - save it for the written document that your audience members can read at their own pace. Share