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Speakers: is there a risk of going too deep into a topic?

Posted on October 12, 2018

Speakers: is there a risk of going too deep into a topic?

The easy answer is YES! A few years ago, I sat in a lecture on the materials used for dental fillings. The speaker got into the chemical compounds of each material, how they half-life of certain molecules interfered with blah blah blah… and as I looked around, no one could follow this speaker, nor knew what to do with the information.

We are asked to speak because we have certain expertise. It seems logical to share that knowledge, right? However, we MUST know our audience. We have to start the learning journey where they are now and think about where they want to be (or need to be) to continue to develop along that journey.

Think about high school math classes. Once you got lost, the rest of the class was frustrating and useless. The smart teachers made sure everyone had mastered (or at least understood) the prior lesson before moving on.

In a professional lecture setting, we can still ask for a show of hands to assess our audience’s understanding of the fundamentals of our lecture. We must be prepared to lay a good foundation, then adapt our content to go only as deep into our topic as appropriate for that day.

I believe as speakers our job is to deliver the right quantity at the highest quality at the highest quality.  That is significance.

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