By far the most common errors in everyday presentations at work is TMI. Too much information. In their desire to share everything they know on a topic, speakers often overload their audiences. Very often. Frequently.
Before putting together your talk, ask yourself this: what does my audience need from me at this time?
This “Fish Story” comes from Garr Reynolds’ Presentation Zen, a book you must read if you make presentations.
Here is the story:
When Vijay opened his store, he put up a sign that said, “We Sell Fresh Fish Here.” His father stopped by and said that the word “We” suggests a emphasis on the seller rather than the customer, and is really not needed. So the sign was changed to “Fresh Fish Sold Here.”
His brother came by and suggested that the word “here” could be done away with — it was superfluous. Vijay agreed and changed the sign to “Fresh Fish Sold.”
Next, his sister came along and said the sign should just say “Fresh Fish.” Clearly, it is being sold; what else could you be doing?
Later, his neighbor stopped by to congratulate him. Then he mentioned that all passers-by could easily tell that the fish was really fresh. Mentioning the word fresh actually made it sound defensive as though there was room for doubt about the freshness. Now the sign just read “FISH.”
As Vijay was walking back to his shop after a break, he noticed that one could identify the fish from its smell from very far, at a distance from which one could barely read the sign. He knew there was no need for the word “FISH.”
Keep it simple.