I’ll get back to you on that, or maybe not…
A sentence often heard in presentations is “I will get back to that” or “I will talk about that later”. This can be both good and bad. Good if you make it a ‘cliffhanger’. Bad if you actually never do get back on the topic.
Bas van den Beld explains this sentence.
You have speakers who are talking about a certain topic and who then tend to drift off. And then they will tell the audience: “You know what, I’ll get back to that later on. This is a point, but I’ll get back to it.”
There’s actually a good way and a bad way of handling that. The good way is very interesting. Because it can help you keep the attention of the audience. The bad way is it’s going to make them very, very, very anxious.
The good way is when you’re using the “I’ll get back to you on that” in a way that builds tension. You’re not actually saying: “I’ll get back to you”. But you’re building up, kind of like with the commercials or with a talk show. “Later on I’ll be talking about… but first … “
When you do that you’re building up tension. You’re building up the expectation that you’re building towards something. And that will keep people’s attention because they want to hear what you’re going to be talking about in the end.
The bad way however is that you keep repeating whenever you start talking about something that you’re going to get back to the audience on that topic later on in your talk. But then the audience sees the time passing and sees that you are getting to the end of your presentation. And they might still not have heard anything about what you are going to get back to. And that means that maybe at the end of your talk, you’re actually not going to get back to the topics that you mentioned before. Because you just ran out of time.
In that case, you’re holding the audience ‘hostage’. And they are kind of waiting for it, but you’re not giving it to them. So that’s when it’s bad.
So, there’s a good way and a bad way to work with talking about stuff later on in your presentation.
Use the good way. Build up the tension. But make sure you can keep your promise. And do it well thought out.