Public Speaking – How to avoid AUDIENCE OVERLOAD

This is an AI generated transcript so please forgive any errors and spelling mistakes. 

Are you the world’s pre-eminent expert on widgets and you have a speaking opportunity coming up and you want to share everything you know? EVERYTHING! Well in today’s video podcast I want to share why that may not be the best thing for your audience.

First, I’m Shola and I want to thank you for being here today. I’m a public speaking coach, a professional speaker and performer based in London. I work with organisations and with individuals.

Let’s talk about the topic of today, which is that less can quite often be more when you’re public speaking. Now, what do I mean by that? Well you might think that a public speech is like a lecture where you have a certain amount of content you need to convey. It’s not important how you deliver it, but the quantity is more important than quality.

Public Speaking – make it easy for your audience to understand your message

At the public speech or a speech is not the same as a lecture. Typically, if you’re giving a lecture, let’s say you’re in a university environment or a college or somewhere, the students might have their notes in front of them, they might have a textbook to follow on from, they might have some course notes. They have a reference to what you’re saying.

Whereas if you’re making a speech, typically, there are no notes. People are relying on their powers of hearing and sight to take in what you’re saying. Literally, it’s just what’s on the screen that you’re projecting and also what it is that you’re saying. As a result, it’s quite taxing for them to have to pick up that information, with no notes, nothing to refer to, apart from you and your PowerPoint presentation, in some cases.

You’ve got to make it really easy for them to get the message, to get the key points, and also the mood and the feel of what it is that you’re wanting to say (so to pick up some emotion from what it is that you’re saying). And the more information you pack in the harder that is going to be for your audience.

You may want to remove some of the content so that people can feel comfortable that they’ve grasped the main message, that they haven’t missed anything, that the information isn’t going above their head in terms of its complexity. And that in general they are following along with you from start to finish.

Public Speaking – too much information can be overwhelming for the listener

The more information you pack in the harder it is for somebody to follow all the way through. They might just tune out for a second or two and miss something which is key to them understanding the rest. Or they might think “oh, this is just more than I can cope with right now” and they tune out. There’s a number of problems that can occur when you give people too much information.

You don’t want to overload people cognitively with the amount of content that you’re pushing onto them. Far better to work on having key messages, key bullet points you want to get across and thinking about how you can really enforce those and make sure that people really understand what it is that you’re sharing with them, than to pack the talk so full of information.

Quite often, we feel that we are giving them extra value and the more information the better. We’re doing it from a good place, because we want to show the audience we know our stuff and that we just get this topic from end to end, and we generously want to share everything. But that can have negative repercussions that can backfire on us because people feel overloaded.

Public Speaking – be selective about what you share and present it in an appealing way

Part of your job as a speaker is to think about not only what to share but how get it across in the way that’s appealing, that’s entertaining, that makes people feel that they’ve spent no time doing something valuable and perhaps piques their interest to take the next step. Rather than saying “here are all the 10 steps right now” perhaps you give them steps 1, 2, 3 and you say “this is what’s available, in steps 5 to 7 but I leave that to you to take those next steps because we don’t have time for that now”.

Or “because I want you to really understand steps 1, 2, 3 well and understand really get the benefit of those rather than treat steps 1 to 10 in a very superficial way”. Depends on your content of course and it depends on your intention and the goal for your presentation. Don’t overload people. Sometimes less is more.

That’s it for me today. If you are interested in finding out more about me go to There are freebies that you can download or just get in touch by LinkedIn and connect. Say that you found me via my blog or via my podcast.

Hope that was helpful and I’ll speak to you next time, take care!


P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 4 ways I can help you improve your speaking or grow your business:

1 – Get my free guide – 5 frameworks to ace a short speech.

Create a speech stress-free and fast. Make it work every time.

2 – Connect with me on LinkedIn.

3 – Do you need a speaking workshop or communication seminar for your organisation? Get in touch.

4 – Looking for an engaging speaker for your next event? Find out more.