Effective communication

The purpose of a presentation is effective communication. Effective communication is not recitation of a list of facts. Effective communication is about a message. That message is only effective from the perspective of the audience. Effective communication is about converting the “what” of data into a “so what” for the audience.

Too often a presentation is simply a list of facts. Those facts may be clear, structured and well delivered but if the audience is a group of aeronautical engineers, a clear, structured and well delivered presentation on basic surgical anatomy of the human neck is of little value. The facts must be relevant. Facts themselves however are not a clear message, nor easily retained. Neither this post nor this blog is an exposition of pedagogy but in delivering a presentation the presenter must change focus from teaching to learning. A presentation is only effective communication if those engineers have some value in that new knowledge. Information of its own has little purpose.

effective communicationThe effective presenter should determine the needs of the audience and meet that purpose by delivering a message, not a list. It is well established that a presentation is the least efficient method of transferring large volumes of data from one place (the presenter) to another (the audience). The nature of a message, its rise and fall, its memorability and ultimate change in behaviour are where insight, creativity and practice come into play. This is what makes effective communication, the conversion of the “what” of data into the “so what” for the audience.

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