They could not be more wrong.
A topic is dry when the writer or speaker makes it that way. Let me share the example of my high school geometry textbook.
The book introduced two characters named Obtuse Ollie and Acute Alice. They would perform experiments that were analogies for the math problems we were trying to solve. The interaction of these two characters was just one example of the kind of humor and engagement that the book used. Here's one of their challenges (make sure you're on page 317):
Geometry: seeing, doing, understanding By Harold R. Jacobs
This textbook uses art by M.C. Escher, Peanuts® cartoons, games (including a math game from a 1917 paperback), graphic design, a measure from a musical piece by Bach, the image of a batter's swing, stories, examples from history (tapestries, a silver vase, bridges, etc.) and more.
I was never a top math student, but this class was one of my most enjoyable and most memorable -- and not because of the teacher. This book made all the difference in my interest and ability to learn geometry.
I sat with a client last week who was going to be giving a presentation on cloud computing, a technical topic for an audience who was going to be new to the concept. Going through his slides, I noticed that he had a slide that spelled out the definition of cloud computing.
I suggested he interview people at the conference in the day before his presentation and ask them what they thought "cloud computing" might mean. Then, in the presentation, use the more confusing or humorous responses as definitions of what cloud computing is NOT. That way, he could kick off the talk with some light humor to get the audience engaged before he got into the nitty gritty of the topic.
As a speaker, what stereotypes about your topic are you clinging to? That science can't be interesting? That finance is boring? That insurance puts people to sleep? You can change that. It just takes some creativity, some willingness to challenge the status quo and, as always, your own passion for your topic.
You bring the energy. You bring the enthusiasm. You make it what you want it to be. I'll say it again -- there is no such thing as a dry topic!
Share your examples of presentations you've seen or given that broke the mold of a typical dry topic.
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