Got a presentation or message to deliver? Get to the point. To get the message to a more "crisp" state, here is a tip that helps me:
If the message, slide deck, or document is running too long, I pretend I have to deliver the message in half the time. I then go through a process that goes something like this:
- Decide on 3 to 5 main points you want your audience to remember.
- Print out the content (working from hard copy helps for the next step).
- Go through the content and highlight key points.
- Discard any content that is not essential to delivering and supporting your 3-5 points.
- If you find any points that don't directly support the main points, but you feel they are too important to delete:
- Use the "So what?" test to figure out whether each point warrants an exception, or whether I feel compelled to add another main point.
It pays to be aggressive during this process, particularly when you identify and remove embellishments, non-critical modifiers, and other "fluff" from the message.
You, your message, and your audience will all benefit from this approach..