July 22, 2011

Same topic, two different approaches

Two speakers, same topic.

One speaker sticks to the facts, shows bullet points, disdains emotions, and doesn't interact, crisply and efficiently dispatching her presentation.

The other speaker gets excited, gets angry, laughs. Her slides have images which evoke feelings in the audience. She involves the audience, bringing them into her world and exploring theirs.

Two presentations: same topic, but different outcome.

You can stick to the bare-bones-get-it-over-with-just-the-facts-ma'am philosophy of public speaking, or you can make it something enjoyable and memorable for yourself and for the audience.

Which audience is checking their watch and their e-mail the whole time?

Which audience is learning and retaining more?

Which audience is going to be motivated to do something when they leave?

Which speaker is going to have a better time, get better reviews, and get asked back?

Here's a visual example of the same topic presented in a bare-bones unemotional fashion vs. an engaging, interesting, artistic fashion: skateboard deterrents.

Skateboarders will attempt to jump and do tricks on just about any surface, so communities have taken to adding bumps, protrusions and divots in and on public benches and curbs to keep skateboarders from damaging the surfaces.

Some of these deterrents are just plain ugly and add nothing to the environment: just the facts, ma'am:

Some of them are beautiful and enhance the environment:

Bench design and image: Bryce Miranda

Image: smithamb92

If you're going to put something on a bench or curb to keep skateboarders off, why not make it something that enhances the experience of passersby? Why not add to the environment rather than detract from it?

The turtle bump and the utilitarian serrated divot serve the exact same purpose, but one makes us go "Yuck," while the other makes us go, "Yay!"

If you have to give a presentation anyway, no matter how utilitarian the topic, why not make it a good time and an enriching experience for everyone, including yourself? Would you rather have your audience go, "Yuck," "Yawn," or "Yay?"

Here are more of the attractive skateboard deterrents I've found!

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