August 19, 2020

Your presentation needs osteoclasts



Nerd alert! 🤓 I have become obsessed with the process of bone healing!

On July 4, I lost my footing on the stairs in my home and suffered a compound fracture in my right leg, an "open tib-fib" in medical shorthand. I'm calling it "The Saga of the Four Fractures."

I had surgery on July 5 to insert a rod and screws (you can call me the Bionic Woman🦿), and I've been working on my healing and recovery for the past six weeks.

Of course, I started studying up on bone healing. Our bodies are amazingly resilient, but the way bones heal is particularly magical.

You would expect that there are cells that are entirely responsible for building bone. They're called osteoblasts. 

A couple weeks after the initial fracture, after the body has produced a healthy swelling around the injury and then a soft protective callus made of collagen, the osteoblasts start their work building new bone.

The osteoblasts add minerals into the collagen tissue—starting at about the six-week mark—and between weeks 6 and 12 (on a lower limb injury like mine) the hard callus forms.

We might expect that, once the hard bone has formed, the work is done.

But wait, there's more!

There's another type of cell that now jumps in and continues working on the bone. This cell, the osteoclast, is responsible for removing bone.

What? Removing bone?

The osteoblasts are not about finesse. They build bone where it's needed, with a little extra for good measure.

The osteoclasts now come in and remodel the bone, reshaping it to its proper form. They break down and digest excess bone in a process called bone resorption.

This balance between building bone and breaking it down is called bone homeostasis: Osteoblasts and osteoclasts are equally important in the process of maintaining healthy bone, not just when bones are broken, but throughout our lives.

Yep, this illustration of homeostasis is directly related to your presentations!

Most speakers have too much information to share. It's rare when I see a client who doesn't have enough to say about their topic. When you're a subject matter expert, it's hard to say everything you want to say in an hour or less! I get it.

In an effort not to leave anything out, many speakers pack their presentations too full. They overbuild. And frankly, they make a mess of things. 

They put too many bullets on slides, they leave out interaction and engagement activities, they talk too fast, and they run over time... all in an effort not to leave out a single concept or idea.

There is a better way! Incorporate the osteoclast techniqe into your presentation!

First you build the presentation. Then you practice the presentation out loud and record it. Why out loud and why record? Because this will give you valuable information about flow, structure and timing.

Once you have this information, you start breaking it down, reshaping it and shaving off the excess. 

You cannot create a successful presentation without removing the excess, paring it down, and culling the extraneous. You can't create a successful presentation without the balance of expanding and contracting, building and demolishing.

Keep practicing, recording and revising, until your presentation has taken its most streamlined and elegant shape. Just like your beautiful bones.



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