Information Overload: The Victim, the Offender, the Prevention.
Have you ever attended a lecture, training or presentation that you felt so overwhelmed with too much information or data, and you hardly remember everything? I have been in such training myself. If you did, you have been a victim of information overload. Information overload occurs when you are provided with too much information or data. When too much information is provided, we have the difficulty to understand the subject and are unable to make efficient decisions. Information overload can also be referred to as infoxication or infobesity.
Victim of Information Overload
Six months ago, I signed up to attend a course to fulfill the continuing education requirement for California Nurses. I preferred to attend the class in person rather than online because I wanted to make sure I can ask all the questions I wanted in the class; and to get my certificate immediately after the class versus mailing the certificate if I were to complete the class online since my certification was to expire in three days.
The classroom was well furnished and comfortable with drop down screen and projector. There were about eleven people in attendance plus two presenters. After the introduction and all the class rules were set, the training officially started. It did not take more than five minutes, and the training began to be very boring. The outline objectives were not clearly stated, and there were lots of texts and too much graphics in each slide which was very hard to follow. The presenters were reading from the slides, and having two presenters was confusing because they had difficulty to transition well.
Consistency, balance, restraint, and detail
While it is hard as a victim to control what the presenters (offenders) do during presentation, it is possible to refrain yourself from being an offender while others become victims. To prevent information overload, you can improve your design by adding some elements of consistency, balance, restraint, and detail. The elements are crucial in an electronic or mobile setting. When these four key areas are addressed, that allows the supplementary professional impression of your presentation. Retaining same font, color, size, margin, and spacing will help to maintain the consistency of the presentation. To give your presentation a professional look, you must consider the use of balance. You must also evenly distribute the text, graphics and white spaces to generate attractive look. It is essential to restrain yourself from unnecessary graphics or worded slides. Using bullet points will simplify and allows the receiver to decode the message without suffering from information overload. Avoid reading from the slide rather, prepare yourself with the presenter’s note. Finally, pay attention to details, because few errors can take away your core message.
Editing and Proofreading Process
Editing and proofreading your work is very critical and are indispensable characteristics of effective writing. Proofreading requires time and attention to details. Few proofreading strategies include checking your punctuations, word choice, sentence structure, spellings, style, grammar, and citations. Review your work and seek feedback from other people. Print out the copies because it is much difficult to see errors on the computer screen than on a paper. Always give yourself some time to read and reread your work because by doing so, you will surely relax your mind, and may find few other errors. If possible read aloud, and at times some people normally read backward.
Adapting to Your Audience
An effective message should always be clear, precise, and relevant to your audience. To be able to do so, you need to analyze your audience and then adapt or tailor your message to fit their purposes. Learn your audience’s demographic information such as academic level, age group, and profession as well as values, beliefs, and expectations.
Being a good listener is imperative when working with a team. Effective listening, especially during teamwork in a business setting is significant. Pay attention and allow others to speak, emphasize on facts and collect objective data or information. It is also essential to respect other people without embarrassing them in public. Keep eye contact, and acknowledge that you understand or paying attention to the conversation. Ask questions when necessary for clarification, and can repeat the speaker’s points for confirmation to make sure both the speaker and the listener are in agreement. These skills are essential for creating effective presentations.