It is a word and activity presenters should learn to embrace.
Most presentations sound as though their creators never heard of the word "distill". As Andrew Dlugan says in his SixMinutes blog post, "...most speakers present content that falls between a first draft and no preparation at all."
Why is that?
It's because we routinely fall in love with our words. They all seem to be pearls of wisdom and therefore are about impossible to edit. We also feel the need to tell everything we know on a subject, lest anyone think we're not extremely knowledgeable.
I guarantee you this approach does not make for a happy audience.
The solution, although requiring a bit of practice, is simple and entails two steps:
BE CLEAR ON YOUR OBJECTIVE
A laser focus on what you want to accomplish in your presentation will help you decide what facts, details and examples will do the job. For example, if your objective is to convince your non-technical audience of the benefits of the new email system, a detailed explanation of how the new system was designed is not likely to move you closer to your objective, notwithstanding how knowledgeable you are about the design process.
STAND IN YOUR AUDIENCE'S SHOES
Look at your presentation from your audience's perspective, not yours. Ask what they need to know to understand your message or support your point-of-view or make an appropriate decision. Then ask what they already know. Let the answers to those two questions guide what content you include. Be ruthless in evaluating every part of your presentation and asking, "Would my overall message be weakened if I took this out?" Then be objective and honest about the answer.
Granted, this approach of distilling your message may be more work. But the reward is a presentation that is more likely to engage the audience, easier for them to digest and process, and more memorable long after you've left the room.
[For a thorough road map to editing your presentation, read the Six Minutes blog post mentioned above.]