Why less is more in medical presentations—how to avoid data dump

In this video, you'll learn why less is more when it comes to effective presentations and walk away with several hands-on tips and tricks on how to boost your success rate.

Kathleen D. Pagana, PhD CSP™
Kathleen D. Pagana, PhD CSP™
10th Jul 2017 • 3m read

After watching this video, you will learn why less is more when it comes to effective presentations. This teaching video contains several hands-on tips and tricks on how to boost your success rate on grand-rounds, talks at conferences, or wherever else you want to speak publicly.

This video was taken from our hands-on and CME accredited Presentation Essentials for Clinicians course.

Video Transcript

[00:00:00] When it comes to money, time, and gassing the car, more than enough is good. Many speakers make the mistake of thinking this concept also applies to speaking and are happy to say, I have more than enough content. That's a mistake. According to Anatole France, The more you say, the less people remember. As the presenter pumps out more and more information, the level of communication begins to fall. Instead of enlightenment, you may get

[00:00:30] glazed-eyes and the audience may stop listening. Success is not measured by how much material you can cram into an hour, it is determined by what the audience understands and can act on, if appropriate. Effective communication is more about the outcome than your output of content. As a speaker, your job is to avoid information overload. Keep your content alive and relevant. Audience members can only accept so much material, without a chance to process information by pausing,

[00:01:00] discussing, analysis, questioning or taking a break. The number one reason why presenters load up on content is that they fear they will run out of material and end early, but has anyone ever complained about ending early? Probably not. Show respect for your audience by never going over time. Don't assume that they have nothing better to do. That's inconsiderate. Speakers usually need to end on time regardless of the time they began their presentation. That's a major attribute

[00:01:30] of professional speakers. Most presenters over-learn their subject matter when doing the research. They know the subject inside and out. Then, it is important to make decisions based on your time. Here, is where you need to be guided by your core message and what you want your audience to think or do after your presentation. Remember, there is no place for more than enough, in a quality presentation. One way to avoid a data dump is to use the 75% rule. If you have a 60-minute presentation, plan on speaking for 45

[00:02:00] minutes. Remember that most presentations don't start on time. There may be welcoming comments from the organizer. You may be following a speaker who ran over time. Following the 75% rule will help you relax when your time is cut short without prior notice. And remember, if you do end early, nobody's going to complain. Another way to avoid a data dump is to divide your material into the must know, should know, and could know. Some people like to color code their information so it's very easy to see.

[00:02:30] If you're running out of time, focus on the must know and eliminate the others as needed. Let me give you an example. I have a colleague who found this strategy very helpful. When presenting on the five keys to leadership, she realized she was running out of time and knew she couldn't just cut out number four and five. So, she focused on the must know, essential information, from that point on. She handled the situation very smoothly and professionally and made sure to address all five key points. Conference organizers

[00:03:00] are impressed and appreciative when you can do that. By keeping the volume of content down, you can fill it in with stories, examples, and discussion, which often help your audience understand and remember what you said and make your presentation a success. These ingredients enhance the presentation but they do take time. Unfortunately, many speakers leave them out and just cram in more slides. If you enjoy this video, make sure to check out our medical presentation essentials

[00:03:30] course and register for a free trial account, which will give you access to selected videos and quizzes from the course. You can earn CME credits with every Medmastery course. If you want to learn more about how Medmastery can help you become a great clinician, be sure to watch the About Medmastery video.

ACCME accredited, UEMS accredited, Comenius EduMedia Siegel 2017, BMA Highly recommended