We believe people who deliver a single message, who don’t deviate or go off at tangents. When people who talk to us are clear about what it is they are talking about, we believe them much more than when they provide extra detail or additional, related material.
You will be much more credible if you deliver less material. You need to deliver ‘depth’ rather than ‘breadth’. Credibility comes from delivering a single, clearly focused message that is backed with evidence and supported by relevant detail. You lose credibility when you try to cover too much ground. Most business presentations lose substantial credibility because they try to deliver too much material. For improved credibility less is more. In fact, if you really focus your message and deliver a fragment of what you had intended your credibility will shoot up. Altogether, a highly focused message can contribute as much as 15% of your believability.
Practical steps you can take
1. Review your material and cut out everything that is not directly related to your material.
2. Make sure you only have ONE MESSAGE to give – ignore all the advice you have ever heard about having three or four ‘bullet points’ for each presentation or speech. Evidence shows it doesn’t work – people only remember one thing about your talk, so only give them one.
3. Make sure your message invites some action on the part of the audience – people relate much more easily to material that has a practical side, instead of having to work this out for themselves. The less thinking your audience has to do, the more they believe you. Make it easy for them to understand.
4. Make sure your material is ‘real life’ – even if you have to talk about concepts, relate them to everyday experiences. Wherever possible give examples that explain your ideas.