In sparks, structure

As Bill Clinton’s advisors told him, “If you say three things, you say nothing”.

One of the easiest mistakes to make in giving a presentation is to include too many things. Easy because preparing a presentation involves a lot of effort, and it seems a shame to have to leave out so much of our hard work. And a lot of that stuff is interesting! It doesn’t matter.

The only chance we have to really reach our audience is to limit our talk to one idea – a single theme for our presentation. This is normally in the form of a clear standpoint: “We should do X.”

If the points we have researched do not relate clearly to this main idea, we have to leave them out, not matter how hard we’ve worked to uncover them, no matter how interesting. The more things we include, the harder we have to work to keep our audience on track. We should keep in mind the words of Antoine de Saint Exupery:

“Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to take away.”

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