I have often been accused of, especially by my kids, of being the “Master” of TMI! (Too Much Information). I will take a story, or a situation, and sometimes share too much, to the point where my kids are embarrassed by their old man! I am sure I am not the only Dad who does this, and I certainly won’t be the last.

Lately, though, I have been pondering that acronym, “TMI”, and as I often like to do, have been looking for new meaning, or new words for each letter.

After attending many professional, educational, ecclesiastical, and other types of training, education, and personal development meetings, seminars, workshops, etc., I have come up with a new meaning for “TMI” which really works for me, and I hope it resonates for some of you, as well.

At Church, I have the honor of teaching a class to small groups of young single adults on how to develop, prepare, and deliver presentations, classes, or speeches (“talks”, as we call them at Church). We cover the logistics of preparation and delivery, the “How To’s”, and something called “Ten Tips to Terrific Talks”. While preparing and practicing are key, and the steps we take as we do so are similar, regardless of the topic or venue in which we will be delivering our message, I have determined that the ultimate goal of the presenter, is to deliver TMI. Not too much information, but something much more profound and meaningful.

As I speak to a group of worshipers, professionals, students, subordinates, or co-workers, my job is simple: I need to Teach, Motivate, and Inspire, the listeners or participants.

First, as we “Teach”, we instruct them on information, procedures, or ideas that they did not know about, or knew little about, before attending the presentation. The word “teach” is defined as to cause to know something, to cause to know how, to impart knowledge, etc. The teacher instructs, imparts knowledge, or gives information.

The greatest teachers in my life have not only been extremely knowledgeable about the topic they were instructing, but also were passionate about their topics, as well.

The second responsibility we have is to “Motivate” our audience. Not only is it important that we instruct, but we must deliver a call to action, and our audience should leave feeling motivated to take action, make a change, try something new, create or break a habit, etc., as a result of the lesson or presentation we have delivered. If there is no action from our teaching, then it was simply a waste of time for the speaker and the listener. Merriam-Webster’s second definition of the word “motivate” is: to stimulate (someone’s) interest in or enthusiasm for doing something. If you have motivated your audience, you have added value.

Finally, some of our favorite speakers, teachers, and leaders “Inspire” us with their stories, their experiences, and their lives. Inspiration and motivation often go hand in hand, but not always. I have frequently been inspired when I hear someone tell of a great experience they have had, or as they share stories to illustrate their “teaching”, but it doesn’t always motivate me to take action. Sometimes just the feeling of inspiration is enough. If you feel touched, or moved, by the speaker, your life is better for having been in attendance for their class, presentation, talk, etc. To influence, move, or guide is part of the definition of the word inspire.

As you prepare for your next speaking engagement, large or small, professional, personal, religious, or wherever you will be speaking, always remember that preparation is the key to a successful presentation, and that there are several steps (create an outline, speak slowly and clearly, smile, quote experts, tell personal stories, etc) that you should always follow as you get closer to the time and day you will be speaking, but keep in mind your real objectives…to deliver TMI to your audience.

Teach, Motivate, and Inspire. If you do this, your presentation will be a success, and you will have maximized the time spent for everyone in attendance, including yourself.