How Much Will the Audience Remember?

We communicate verbally and visually.

During a presentation, audience members hear and see your presentation. You are speaking – auditory input – and you are probably using supporting slides – visual input.

Does the Audience Remember Everything?

We do not remember everything that we hear and see in a presentation, especially if there is both auditory and visual information being presented. Why? Because our brains process auditory and visual information at different speeds and at conflict. The brain can process either auditory or visual information very well, but does not efficiently process both simultaneously. Therefore, we will selectively remember pieces of a presentation and not all of the information that we hear and see.

What is worse is that different audience members will remember different parts of your presentation.

So, if we know that the audience will not remember everything that we show them and tell them, what do we need to do to maximize the retention (remembering) rate?

Reducing our key messages is one way to control what the audience remembers from your presentation.

How Much Will the Audience Remember?

During a one hour presentation, an audience will remember 3 to 5 things. This is an important fact. We all think that we have dozens of important things we want our audience to remember from our presentation. However, knowing that the audience will only remember 3 to 5 things, and I would err towards the three, will help you to create a better and more effective presentation. How? You get to decide what your audience will remember. Decide on 3 to 5 key messages that you want your audience to remember and prepare your presentation to support these 3 to 5 key messages. For example, should you use a joke at some time in your presentation? Well, does it support one of your key messages? If not, then why use it? It is just a distraction.

In a 1 hour teaching presentation the audience will remember 7-10 things.

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