People often mistake the concept of giving a compelling talk with “putting whole books on 200 Powerpoint slides and reading them to their audience”. As a student I regularly have to experience the pleasure of observing this mistake. As another semester full of such joy lies behind me, I can’t take it anymore. Let me use this platform for a short plea for better presentations.
This isn’t a real talk, it is a project by a musical group. Now I am a bit of an ignoramus and so I usually don’t like musicals. Even when people on my favorite television show start singing, I am usually looking for the remote control. So I hope this video doesn’t prompt a wave of sung TED-talks, university lectures or inauguration speeches. 😉 But what I like about it is that it is surprising and it shows one way of standing out.
Once I saw a presentation about economic trickle-down effects – as you can imagine this is rather a dry topic. At one point the speaker drew a pyramid on a whiteboard, put a coin at its peak and dropped it. The “PLING!” as it hit the bottom was enough, to keep people concentrated on what he was saying. So obviously, to give an interesting talk, you don’t always have to go and book an ensemble. (Honestly, you almost never should. Thank you!).
When you talk to an audience, don’t consider it a good thing to do it like everybody else. So much is said these days, that an speech just below average will neither educate nor inspire people. Say surprising stuff, add a little action, and if there is any chance at all to do something unusual, do it! (And at least please obey Guy Kawasakis 10/20/30-rule.) It won’t help you, if you have nothing interesting to say. But if you have, it will help to make people notice.
It’s why we noticed TED, isn’t it?