It is hard to chop content out of your presentation. You worked on it, you had a vision of where you wanted to go and how you would go about getting there. You filled that presentation chock full of ideas. It was loaded with stuff that you wanted to share with your audience. You crafted your presentation slides to go with the speech portion, and thoughtfully provided all your information on the slides, too, so that people could download the slides and print up your notes, thereby having a great handout.
But we’re going to chop that presentation. We’re going to go in there with a chainsaw and mercilessly hack out everything that is not absolutely necessary so that you – the star of the show – can actually shine. Time to prune down the material you are covering and get rid of 80% of the stuff on those slides.
Top presenters have the ability to make their presentations sound like free-flowing conversations. In order to do this, you need to give yourself space to speak freely, off script, and have your presentation slides be open to digression as opposed to locking in your path with a series of bullet points. This means editing out what isn’t necessary to your point. Sometimes that means editing with a very heavy hand.
If you are finding it necessary to pare down a presentation – maybe even deleting entire sections or topics – and are baulking because of all the work you put in, ask yourself: can I spin this into a new presentation? (Hint: the answer is almost always yes!) I love this question. It does two things right out of the gate:
1) it gives you to permission to edit away to your heart’s desire because you won’t be “losing work,” and
2) it lets you get even more done because you’ve taken what you thought would be a single presentation and then expanded it to create two or more new presentations.
Give your brain space to converse naturally during your presentations; for that you need time, and to ensure you have that time you’ll probably need to edit quite a bit out of your presentation. Don’t be afraid of throwing away good content and good work, though; if there’s gold in them hills, mine it to create more great presentations!