November 22, 2011
Me or Die
Bill Burns who works at Broadcom Tech Publications is a self-described
"mild-mannered technical writer" by day and a "communications nut" by night.
Convinced that technical presentations did not have to be as boring as the ones
he constantly saw, he decided to take to the soapbox himself and model what he
believed effective presenting could be at his firm's huge All Hands get together
"I thought my first presentation was all ready to go several weeks prior to the
event," writes Bill, "And then I listened to one of your recorded webcasts on
the power of Metaphor and realized my presentation was just yak, yak, yak, with
no real engagement, and NO metaphor. So I completely reworked it, focusing on
the brain as the key target of a good presentation ("Your brain remembers what
engages it, and doesn't remember what doesn't engage it"), and then seasoned the
whole thing with a healthy dose of engaging metaphors."
"Not only did it succeed as a presentation in itself, but it turned everyone
into presentation critics: throughout the rest of the week, my colleagues would
comment to me about the other presentations we saw, and how they measured up
according to the structure I had taught them! As I'm sure you know, nothing’s
better than watching your input go viral!"
"As someone once said, 'My success is your success.' Thanks for the spot-on tip
that helped my presentations be such a success!"
Here are three examples from Bill's presentation...
I first started applying to companies fresh out of college, my
Dad said, 'Don't contact the HR department. Because one of their
jobs is to keep you out so that the people who are in can do
their work without you getting in the way."
Your brain is your HR
department. One of its jobs is to keep stuff out that's not
important so you can work with the stuff that is important…."
"Densely packed slides are visual overloads. Talking over
densely packed slides adds auditory overload. Brains hate
overloads. When brains
get overloaded, something disastrous kicks in: the School of
"Small fish travel in big schools to avoid being eaten by
sharks. The sheer number of fish makes it almost impossible for
the shark to focus on any of them. So, instead of a feast, the
shark goes away famished. When our listeners are faced with a
sea of ideas from our slides and our voices, like the shark, they
cannot focus and often go away from our presentations
remembering almost nothing."
one idea and one simple graphic per slide. This allows your
slides and spoken words to work together, so they actually
engage your brain more effectively than either one or the other
can do alone. This is the perfect presentation blend.
And just like us, brains
love a perfect blend."
One image. One thought.
One engaged audience. Thanks, Bill, for sharing this with The Metaphor Minute.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!.
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