Shorter show and tells are better

The other week I was at a show and tell with—thankfully—not the usual suspects. The team and key stakeholders were present, but also some other curious people from around the organisation. There was a lot to cover in 30 minutes, so the team rattled through the material and there were a couple of brief questions before we finished. And as we were leaving the room one of the attendees said to me, “That was really good—and short, too. You packed a lot in.”

It brought home to me the value of squeezing down the time of a show and tell. It’s a bit like putting a deadline on a project – it forces everyone to prioritise ruthlessly. What must we absolutely do? What can we leave for another time?

A short, snappy show and tell has a number of advantages. It’s more engaging because there’s more energy in the presentation; it’s more likely to fit into people’s calendars; there is less scope for conversations that go down rabbit-holes; there’s more focus on content and less on form and polish, which helps a bit to reduce prep time; it shows you’re respectful of people’s time. If people want to dig deeper then there’s always opportunity for further conversations, in line with the showbiz mantra, “Always leave ’em wanting more.”