In the afternoon of the first day of Presentation Summit 2011, I heard 2 excellent presentations and wanted to share them with you.
Carmen Taran: I Can’t Remember %#&$!
Carmen Taran was the afternoon keynote speaker. Those of you who are attending the Outstanding Presentations Workshop heard her present and she is always lively and interesting. She started with a funny story of going to Stockholm, Sweden to see some specific sights and then getting so involved in traveling around that she forgot to see the sights she came for!
That led to her discussion of what people remember. She said that people remember incongruity and the unexpected. (Maybe those are the same thing.) She also noted that attention is important for memory. That’s why a good start to a presentation might include mentioning a shocking statistic, asking the audience a question or evoking emotion in some way–such as by telling a story about spending thousands of dollars to visit a city and forgetting why you came.
On the other side, some good ways to kill the start would be to give people a handout, launch into a long introduction of the company, or speak out familiar phrases like, “I’m so grateful…” or “Thank you for taking the time to…”
Carmen talked about using creativity and contrast to help people remember. She suggested that presenters spend the time necessary to let their creativity come out.
Olivia Mitchell: Why Johnny Can’t Present–Time to Transform
Olivia Mitchell (whom many of you heard speak at last year’s Outstanding Presentations Workshop) talked about how to wean a presenter from bullet points. She explained that presenters are scared of dropping them and they want to conform, be safe.
She used a Buddhist metaphor of a rider on an elephant. The rider represents the mind and the elephant represents emotions and instinct. She explained that you need to talk to the emotions; logic doesn’t work. Here 3 main points were:
- Provide models: Show what they have now and what could be
- Provide an alternative safety net: Provide notes or design slides so they can still act as a prompt without bullet points. Rehearsing also helps. Finally, Presenter View shows the presenter the notes while showing the audience only the slides.
- Start with one slide at a time: Provide baby steps so the presenter doesn’t have to make big changes all at once.