"The next stop is Terminal C."
"The train is stopping at Terminal C."
"The doors will now open Terminal C."
The airport does this because they know most of us will (a) miss the first announcement because we were talking or texting, (b) hear but not retain the second, and (c) finally pay attention to the third. A friend and I named this the reassurance repeat. And even with three reminders, invariably someone on the train will look up with wide-eyes and ask, "which terminal is this?" as the doors open.
They teach people who work with elderly patients to repeat everything at least three times because it great increases the patients' comprehension. But the truth is we have a hard hearing things the first time at ANY age.
We need to keep this in mind as we create sales artifacts and craft presentations. The old saw, "tell 'em what you're gonna say; tell 'em; tell 'em what you told 'em" is excellent advise. Certainly that means include an agenda and a summary to bookend your presentation, but you can also employ the reassurance repeat at a micro level.
If you are conveying an important concept, express it in text on the slide, illustrate it with a graphic, chart, icon, or photo, and then emphasize it in your spoken presentation.
I have witnessed many presenters assume their audience will "get all the jokes," and they assume that their briliant prose or insightful image can do the work all by itself. Sometimes presenters think repeating key points will be perceived a "talking down" to the audience, and certainly I'm not suggesting you take a pedantic tone
But think about how many times you've become distracted as an audience member. A dentist appointment later that afternoon, the message from your teenager's teacher, last nights gme, the cramp in your left big toe..... The world is full of distractions, and as presenters, we have to be prepared to bring our audience back to your agenda again and again.
The reassurance repeat is an effective way to reinforce your message and help your audience follow your conclusions.
Let's say you agree with my premise, but you're not sure what part of your message you should repeat. Here's an easy tip: ask yourself "so what?" Literally go through your presentation, either alone or with your team, and challenge each slide.
For example, imagine a slide that shows the failure rate of your product is consistently better than that of your competitors. So what? Well, a lower failure rate means less downtime for your customers. So what? Less downtime means higher productivity and higher profitability. Keep asking "so what?" until you find the idea that will matter to your audience then repeat it - on the slide, in handouts, and in your spoken comments.
Don't bemoan the fact that most people are bad listeners; prepare for it. Find your key ideas, and share them in multiple ways. The reassurance repeat will increase audience retention and keep them focused on your best ideas. Shall I repeat that?