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Published by: Blvsr on Jan 30, 2011
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One of the most common problems with speeches is

TMI: too much information. This is actually the down-

side to the principle that we outlined in Lesson 1:

You should always speak about something you know.

When you know a great deal about your topic, your

natural temptation will be to cram everything into

your 20-minute presentation.

The problem with this goes back to our three-

minute attention span. If you ask your audience to pay

close attention while you pour out a torrent of facts

and fgures, they will be mentally fatigued by trying to

absorb all those facts in a three-minute period, after

which they will need to rest their minds by thinking

about something else.

Think of your speech as though it were a gun.

You could use a shotgun, which fres countless small

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bullets that scatter in all directions or you could use a

rife, which fres one bullet that penetrates very deeply.

In other words, it is better to focus on one or two major

points and delve into them deeply than to cover a host

of facts in a superfcial manner.

We will address these techniques in a later lesson,

but it will be helpful here to know how to break up

your speech to avoid the TMI syndrome. You can cover

a few major points in greater depth, for example, if you

provide lots of examples on each point, helping your

audience to better understand your ideas by showing

them how those ideas work out in a variety of practical

situations. This will engage your listeners’ minds as

they visualize a variety of examples, and it will prevent

information overload.

You can also use personal anecdotes and stories

that don’t seem to have any connection with your

speech—provided that you do make a connection by

tying the stories back into your main points in some

way. This is an effective method of introducing humor

into your speech, as well. You can interject a humorous

story about something that happened to you when you

were in elementary school, and then explain how that

experience illustrates your point.

And don’t forget about visual aids! Using

PowerPoint slides, fip charts, or overhead transparencies

will defnitely keep your audience awake, because it pro-

vides them with something interesting to look at while

they also listen to your words. Holding up some object

that ties in with your points will keep all eyes riveted on

you, and it will prevent information overload by forcing

you to make practical applications as you go along.

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