My three-year-old son talks a lot. He has many opinions, an active imagination, and the gift of gab. He changes his mind constantly and goes off on tangents with almost every thought.
But, he has a gift. A gift to realize when he speaks too much. When Teddy has gone so far off topic that his sister and friends aren’t listening any more, he simply says: “NEVER MIND.” No harm, no foul. He carries on with his happy life and so does everyone else. He has this amazing ability to cut it short and realize he is giving too much information. He reels it in and stops talking for a moment.
Think of everything you know on a particular topic. You know a lot! You studied hard, you worked hard, and now you are a subject matter expert with plenty of knowledge. Your job, as an effective presenter and high-performing business professional, is to figure out what percentage of your knowledge your audience needs to hear. Getting this right ensures that people are hearing just enough to be informed and view you as credible without being bogged down by too much information.
Data overload is a recipe for disaster. Glazed over eyes, yawns, blank faces, and heads bobbing back and forth as people nod off are not fun to look at when you are presenting or leading a meeting. But it happens. And it usually happens when you get too deep into the weeds with all the details. Stick with the high level message and most of your audience will not be afraid to ask questions. You know when they don’t ask questions? When you talk too much. They don’t care to listen anymore. They definitely don’t want to prolong the meeting by asking questions. Meeting fail.
So in honor of Teddy, my beautiful boy, I have a lot more to say, but instead I will just say NEVER MIND. Try it out the next time you are in a meeting. If your audience has questions, they will ask. Less is usually more.