I was on a juggler’s website yesterday, and checked out his promo videos. I started as a juggler and still enjoy watching skilled manipulators work.

As I watched him, I was able to follow the majority of his tricks, because I’m a juggler. He was juggling so fast. Way too fast. It was hard to appreciate the skill involved with what he was doing. It reminded me of a comment that a very good friend of mine (a non-juggler) said to me several years ago. She said, “It all looks the same to me. I can’t tell the difference in your tricks.”

If you are in a position where you need to present information to an audience, there is high likelihood that you’re going too fast on stage. Whether you’re entertaining a group or running through a business presentation, you probably need to slow down.

Logically, you know your material much better than your audience. (Duh) You have spent time studying, writing and rehearsing it. In my case, I’ve presented my show for hundreds of audiences over the course of years. It’s quite easy to flip on auto-pilot and blitz through the stuff, but that is the opposite of what my audience craves.

Here is the rule of thumb that I follow: If it feels a touch too slow for you, it’s just right for the audience.

They need time to process the information. It needs to sink in. They are working hard to keep up with the show. Give them the chance.

Think of it in term of basketball. If a player throws a ball fake too fast, it’s ineffective. The defensive player’s reflexes don’t even register the potential of the threat. If the fake is deliberate and at a realistic speed, you can fake the defense right out of his shoes. You need to give the ball fake time to work so you can take advantage of it.

The same is true in presentation. Give the material time to sink in so you can use it for your greater purposes. Slow down. Take a breath. Give them a beat to catch up with you. Your audience will thank you for it.

MAGICIAN’S TAKE AWAY :: This is so true if you use any flourishes in your work. I use a couple of card flourishes in my close-up work and I know that I can zip through them, with my eyes closed, behind my back; but that doesn’t mean that they effectively accentuate the magic. Flourishes are pure eye candy. Give the audience a chance to bask in their beauty. Before you throw a flourish, make sure you’re angled properly for them to see it, and set a gentle rhythm to the moves.