Not long ago I was able to sit in on some mandatory training for employees of a large corporation. Thankfully, the instructors were all very knowledgeable and brought some good, relevant stories. However, by the end of the training, most people had forgotten much of the information presented. Why?
The slides had been distributed by corporate to all offices for delivery to all employees. In reality, it was just one great big document created in PowerPoint and packed with information (I think). The kerning was so bad that I could not read much of the text. I actually thought something was wrong with my glasses. What pictures there were seemed like an attempt to fill what little white space was left on the slide; they certainly did nothing to enhance the learning experience.
Two months later I can only remember two points and they could have been covered in less than a day, not three. If there was other critical information, I can’t remember it. That training was probably delivered to over 50,000 individuals in over two thousand presentations; what a waste! The slideuments were not handed out, saving a small forest, but leaving the participants without reference materials for the information dump that they were supposed to remember. Of course that assumes there was more than the two points to remember; I really can’t remember.
So what’s the takeaway? LESS IS MORE! Figure out what is the critical information you want to convey, and the most engaging and economical way you can deliver it. The more noise that is transmitted along with your core points only reduces the effectiveness of what you are trying to accomplish. What is it that you really want your audience to remember in two months time?