Had a speaker I was working with the other day express shock that I recommended removal of an agenda slide from their PowerPoint. “Shouldn’t I tell them what I’m going to tell them, tell them, and tell them what I told them?” That is one method. And not one I ascribe to very much. We talked some about the point, and bascially came to the conclusion that the reason people do this is that they’ve always seen it done that way. When we established what the message of the presentation was and how we could clearly communication that (and only that), it quickly became obvious that talking about what he was going to talk about wasn’t helping the message one iota. So he dropped it.I’m not saying there can’t be times when a roadmap of communication won’t be effective. But I am saying that use of such a device should be calculated and purposeful, and not thrown in as the default. In most cases, there are a lot more creative and reasonable ways to get the message out, across, and remembered.One other aside. One problem with the T4 (tell them times three) approach is that telling is not the most effective way of communication (ask any parent!). For a rather good treatise on why this is, I recommend the book “Telling Ain’t Training” (also an ASTD conference by the same name). If all you can think of is to tell them, you aren’t being very creative, and likely aren’t being very effective. There are almost always better ways. Unfortunately, few of them are demo’d on a regular basis, so the majority of presentations ape what they have seen, and that isn’t typically good.
Make your point and your message memorable. Don’t mimic mediocrity.