As a presenter, it's not your job to inform

Posted by

I recently came across this quote by R. Buckminster Fuller:

All the information in the world is available right here in this room.
It’s just a matter of presentation to make sense out of it.

This nicely highlights one of the underlying problems of many presentations. Too often, they are simply meant to inform the audience about something. But with all the information readily available at our fingertips (literally!) it is more important now than ever not to simply inform but to explain to your audience why they should know about this product / service / technology that you're talking about. What's in it for them? How does it make their lives better, in one way or another?

When you prepare a presentation, you need to think about your audience and where they are now, in relation to your topic: What do they know about it? How is it relevant to them? Then define the goal of the presentation: Where do you want them to be after your presentation? A goal of simply informing them is not enough - they could just as well get that information from the internet. You need to put things in perspective for them. What will they get out of it? Will it save them money? Time? Will it make their lives (or work) more enjoyable?

It's not information that should be at the heart of your presentation, it's the "Why?" Find an answer to that question - in relation to your audience - and go from there.

(Photo by Dan Lindsay, from Wikimedia Commons)

If you'd like me to talk or write about this topic, you can hire me to do so.
Please email me for details.
Creative Commons Licence "As a presenter, it's not your job to inform" by Dirk Haun is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.