Gluttony in Public Speaking

Have you ever given a speech that ran over time?

Deadly Sin #4: Gluttony

by Andrew Dlugan

Gluttony is exhibited by speakers who believe that more is always better.

More slides, more bullets, more examples, more facts, more numbers, more details, more words — more of everything.

Packing all possible material into your presentation and then speeding through it is flawed, despite your best intentions to provide maximum value. More is (usually) not better. Cognitive research shows that people have a limited capacity to absorb information (see Kosslyn’s Clear and to the Point and Mayer’s Multimedia Learning). Overloading that capacity will reduce their ability to absorb anything at all! Quantity is no substitute for quality.

It is better to focus your presentation on your core message, select only the very best support material (facts, slides, anecdotes), and speak at a reasonable pace. Supplementary material, if necessary, belongs in a handout.

All of this gluttony — too many slides, too many stories, too many details — leads the speaker down a dark and dirty path towards…

Come back to find out more….

Fran Watson

P.S. For more tips on how to be a successful public speaker, click here!



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