Exhaustive Detail = Exhausted Audience

Exhaustive detail = exhausted audience!

If you’ve ever been in an audience and suffered through a stuffed – and possibly rushed – presentation, you’ll probably relate to today’s topic in exhaustive detail

Cramming too much content into a talk or presentation is a bit like somebody feeding us, and continuing to put food into our mouth before we get the chance to swallow…let alone digest!

We end up feeling bloated, distracted and uncomfortable.

So if we now flip perspective, and you’re the speaker or presenter: do you ever find yourself stuffing too much in? Cantering to the finish line to try to get through everything?

I used to do this a lot, and it’s such a common challenge for speakers.Lots of plastic alphabet letters thrown onto a table

You probably know why this happens in your own case.

Common reasons for my clients include:

  • Enthusiasm for your topic. This is good! But too much of a good thing doesn’t help your audience.
  • Lack of confidence about what’s most important. Either through low topic-knowledge or low clarity. Which ties into the next one:
  • Little or no prior thinking time. Understandable – but usually not a great excuse.
  • Need to show that you’ve done the work/covered all bases. Fine in theory, not in practice.
  • Format: many of my clients are given perhaps a 5 minute slot as part of a team to get their ideas or update across. You may not have much room to move in this case.

Unfortunately what any of these can signal to your audience is a lack of care on your part.

Showing care is a big part of being an excellent speaker and communicator.

So – to avoid being the presenter of an “All You Can Eat” buffet? A few ideas for you – and any of these will help.


  • Thinking time. What needs to be there, versus would be nice to be there? Edit – cull, and cull again!
  • Clarity about your key messages.
  • Practice. This may not be needed if you’re familiar with the format, but is often an important factor.

And if your organisation’s presentation format doesn’t allow you much room to move? I’d still encourage you to question if you can cut anything, or do it slightly differently.

If any of these ideas resonate, remember to keep it simple the next time you’re creating content for your audience – take good care of them. It pays off.

Best wishes with your presentations or public speaking!

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