It’s easy when we’re trying to present something new, particularly in a training and development environment, to be overwhelmed by all that we want our participants to know on the subject. As good trainers, teachers, and facilitators, we want our audience to get the most learning in the least time. The problem is that this type of thinking can get us and our audience confused. Trying to deliver too much information impedes learning. Learning isn’t solely about information. It’s about using information to accomplish something we couldn’t accomplish before. This requires time to digest, integrate and apply new ideas.
With this in mind, plan your presentation around only a few (no more than three) items in a single sitting. Seek to deliver these points clearly and succinctly. This will help to make your presentation clearer and provide the space for the audience to generalize new information with their own experience. Planning space in your presentation also allows you to adjust the course of the presentation to meet learning needs and interests that arise in the moment.
Finally, it’s OK to leave your participants wanting a little bit. It’s far better for them to leave hungry and curious about a few new ideas rather than overwhelmed and confused by too many of them!
Establish Clear, Manageable Training Objectives, and Deliver Them
Suppose you have one hour to present all there is to know about conflict resolution? You just happen to be an expert on this. You have at least 10 key points you want to cover, about 5 examples, and you can talk non-stop on this subject for hours with no problem. You are concerned about how to present this in the time allowed.
Try putting yourself in the seat of your participants. Pick three points on this subject you’d like to leave with if you were one of them. Spend a few minutes before you start to query participants around their biggest concerns on this topic. Select and refine your planned activities based on their input. This approach assures that participants leave with the major points you want them to have, while addressing their immediate needs. They will likely leave feeling heard and excited about what they’ve learned.
The next time deliver on a training topic or are asked to prepare presentation, limit your agenda to no more than three major points. Focus on creating opportunities for your participants to demonstrate to you and each other that they do in fact understand the material. This change in perspective will do wonders for your presentation. Not to mention your audience attention span! I’m interested in hearing what happened. Please share your questions, feedback, or experience in the comments section below. Also, a video version of this article is available below: