I stumbled upon this amazing Slideshare presentation today… I love the focus on how and why good design = good business. Check it out below:
Why do YOU think design is important?
Note: Yesterday’s post focused on the importance of content in a presentation. Today’s post relies heavily on those ideas.
After I discovered Dr. Carol Dweck’s work last summer, I felt like my perspective on teaching public speaking and presentation had been neatly summed up with the “fixed” and “growth” mindset concepts. Check out Dweck’s RSA presentation below:
I teach a subject that allows me to see the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset on a daily basis. I teach college courses on public speaking and presentation. One course is a basic, 1000-level introduction to public speaking, and one is a 3000-level advanced presentation course. A student can come into those classes with an excitement and love for attention from a crowd, with a naturally charming personality that translates to strong delivery. But public speaking isn’t just about delivery and whether or not you can perform well in front of people. Public speaking is about hard work to deliver a message in a way that will resonate with an audience. And because content – not delivery – is the most important part of public speaking and presentation, even naturally charming people cannot do well in my class unless they work hard on their content.
Let’s consider two students. Student A is a shy, timid young woman who would much rather sit in the back of the room hidden in his laptop than speak in front of a group of people. Student B is an outgoing, charismatic, confident young woman who loves to share her ideas in front of a large group of people. Because she is nervous about speaking, Student A spends quite a bit of time preparing her content. She comes to meet with me in my office. She sends me her outline for my feedback. She practices and rehearses with her family and friends. Because she is excited about speaking, Student B spends very little time preparing her content. She relies on her charm to win over the audience because her dazzling personality often wins people over in everyday conversation. She decides she’s just going to “wing it” on speech day because she is so often told that she’s a great communicator.
Student A has worried so much about meeting her audience’s needs that she presents engaging, insightful content using strong, effective visuals. Her delivery isn’t perfect; she can work on movement and eye contact. However, she has built up her confidence through practice and preparation. Student B, on the other hand, has worried so little about meeting her audience’s needs that her content is disorganized, confusing, and selfish. Her audience finds her delivery confident and exciting, but her message doesn’t resonate. Student A’s desire to work, to grow, helps her, and public speaking is a subject where thoughtful, hard-working people will always win.
Consider Steve Jobs. He was not always the most powerful communicator. A growth mindset works well in the field of public speaking because, quite simply, the amount of work you put into your presentation has a direct correlation with how successful with your speech will be.
If you plan on being a public speaking superteacher, it is important to cultivate that growth mindset in your students. Begin by studying Carol Dweck’s work. You can also check out Angela Duckworth’s TED Talk; Duckworth’s ideas about grit are highly influenced by Dweck.
Why do you think so many public speaking instructors cultivate a fixed mindset? What can we – the presentation revolution – do to push the growth mindset?
Jessica Stillman recently published an article on Inc. called “5 Secrets of Public Speaking From the Best TED Presenters.” Naturally, I gobbled up her “secrets” which come directly from Jeremey Donovan’s book How To Deliver A TED Talk.
TED has, thankfully, revolutionized the way some people present information. Presentations are no longer about delivering a report to an audience and relying on your eye contact and the sparkle in your voice to get you through. Content is key, as Stillman explains in her article. Her 5 secrets include crafting one big idea or central message; focusing your content on your audience; creating an effective hook; repeating a catchphrase that will resonate with your audience; and telling stories (Source). Many of my colleagues are still teaching that basic report style of presenting. They believe that content is secondary to delivery and that the speaker’s message should be information-packed and logos-driven. As long as the delivery is charming, they say, the speaker will be successful. I disagree, and this fundamental difference is what drives the presentation revolution. I believe in Donovan’s advice. I believe in TED. I believe in Nancy Duarte and Garr Reynolds. I also believe the tired way of teaching public speaking relies on Carol Dweck’s fixed mindset (check back for tomorrow’s post elaborating on these issues), and a teaching environment where only so-called naturally charismatic people can deliver great speeches is an environment I do not want to be in.
Let’s examine two TED Talks to prove Donovan’s point. Take Sir Ken Robinson’s “Schools Kill Creativity.” Perhaps one of the most famous and well-loved TED Talks, Robinson’s 2006 presentation has been viewed 20 million times because of the story-driven content. I don’t remember Robinson’s factual evidence. I remember his humor when he talks about his wife and children, and I remember my sadness when he talks about a young Gillian Lynne. My emotional connection to the content of the speech is what makes “Schools Kill Creativity” successful. It certainly isn’t Robinson’s delivery! Stricken with polio at a young age, Robinson doesn’t use movement to get his point across. His power comes from his content. Some of my colleagues argue that “Schools Kill Creativity” is too story-driven. That means they don’t understand how people learn and how ideas are successfully transmitted. To me, that also means they don’t need to be teaching a public speaking and presentation class.
Let’s also look at Susan Cain’s “The Power of Introverts.” Her point is that we aren’t all extroverted, social, outgoing people, and we live in a world where these qualities are prized. So what happens to introverted people? Does that mean they are poor communicators? Does that mean they are poor public speakers? Some of the best presentations ever delivered in my classroom were given by introverts, and that is because I look much deeper than superficial things like eye contact and a powerful voice. It’s a good thing that I can look deeper, because during her TED Talk, Cain’s delivery isn’t perfect. She does appear shy, soft-spoken, and timid. If I prized delivery above all else, I might not even give her speech a chance. Thankfully, 5 million people did give Cain a chance and watched her TED Talk. In fact, Cain’s presentation holds the record as gaining 1 million views faster than any other speech in TED Talk history and is one of the most-viewed Talks of all time. Cain’s TED Talk shows the power of authenticity over showmanship (Source). To me, that’s what public speaking is all about. The power of presentations don’t lie in flashy delivery but in that content. Stillman’s article on Donovan believes this. The presentation revolution was founded on this.
Why do you think so many people – especially public speaking and presentation instructors – resist the ideas of the presentation revolution? Is there anything we can do to help them see the light?
This afternoon, I checked my inbox to find this startlingly generous, exciting update from the presentation goddess Nancy Duarte herself:
You can get a free copy of Resonate either via HTML5 or on iBooks! How great is that? And how great is Nancy Duarte for sharing her ideas FOR FREE?! She continues to be such an inspiration. I adore her.
I just downloaded the iBook version and am re-reading Resonate for the hundredth time. I must say, the multimedia version beats the hard copy because Duarte’s words and ideas come alive with video and audio. Hearing Nancy Duarte narrate the text using video AND reading the original text helps me connect with the material in a new way. There are also pop-ups to click on for more information on a particular subject.
Thanks to Nancy Duarte for creating an interactive, fun, FREE version of her book to reach even more audiences. With this multimedia release, there is absolutely no excuse to continue delivering bad presentations. Share it with everyone you know!!!
What do you like more about the re-release of Resonate including multimedia?
A few months ago, I was fortunate enough to teach four amazing students: Debbie, Reva, Rico, and Soffia. Because we had such a small class, we were really able to focus on developing our individual presentation and communication skills… This resulted in output that was out of this world! All 4 of my students earned an “A” (100% of the class made an A?!!). These students worked hard on growing their content, delivery, and design abilities.
The biggest and perhaps most daunting task that month was to create an Ignite presentation. Recently, Soffia turned her Ignite slides into a beautiful deck on Slideshare, and today, those slides were featured as a “Top Presentation of the Day!”
Check out “Why You Need To Travel” below:
Soffia is certainly a someone to watch and to follow on Slideshare! Check out her Slideshare page here, and be sure to “Follow” her and to “Like” her work.
What is your favorite thing about Soffia’s “Why You Need To Travel” presentation?
For the past two weeks, I’ve spent most of my time reading potential books to replace our Public Speaking textbook. This morning, I was finally able to catch up on my blog and article reading.
In honor of Halloween, Nancy Duarte’s team released another Duarte.com/edy sketch on “Frankenslides.” I cannot tell you how many people I’ve seen do this… obviously unsuccessfully. It’s a terrible idea to grab bits and pieces of a lot of different PowerPoint presentations, throw them all together, and present that as a cohesive unit. This approach doesn’t work because the slides weren’t organized or developed as one presentation.
I’ve also recently seen a presenter try to speak using content created by Person A and slides created by Person B. It was messy. If you didn’t develop the content, and if you didn’t develop the slides, you’re relying on your delivery alone to get you through the presentation. It never ends well because, as we know, a presentation is a three-legged stool that must have successful content, slides, AND delivery.
I am a big fan of Make A Powerful Point‘s Gavin McMahon. His most recent article is called “Framing: The Secret to a Better Presentation.” I loved this read. McMahon says, “framing is critical to your presentation, conversation or message” (Source). He talks about considering the current “frame” around an issue you are presenting and then reframing that issue so that you can call your audience to action… It’s an interesting take on persuasion, and I think it works. McMahon also gives us a tool to do this: to work to reframe (Source). The T-Leaf would be a great exercise in my class when working on developing a persuasive speech.
Last, but not least, are my favorites at Ethos3. “Great Presenters Have Their Own Point Of View” echoes McMahon’s ideas about reframing an idea to present it to an audience. The folks at Ethos3 consider late night TV talkshows and argue that while there are many different ways to host a late night show, a crucial element is to put your own personal spin on things (Source). That unique spin, that reframing, is the essence of a good presentation. Are you going to present information like everyone else? Then sit down! You’re wasting your audience’s time. Ethos3 asserts, “The unforgivable sin in late night television, and in presentations, is to have a forgettable perspective on things” (Source). How do you work to reframe a presentation so that it shows off your unique point of view?
What great things have you been reading this week?
I love data visualization, but when I saw “Last Meals” today, it knocked my socks off! How beautiful is this presentation of information? It’s such a gorgeous and interesting play on the typical, boring old graph.
Have you seen any great infographics lately?
On my quest to find the perfect public speaking book for my revamped online and campus class, I’ve read a lot of great things, a lot of mediocre things, and a lot of bad, bad things. Nothing has been as bad as the public speaking and presentation textbooks out there today! Traditional public speaking textbooks suck, and they don’t work well for my students.
This week, I was excited to find that my university’s library carried two books on my reading list: Alexei Kapterev’s Presentation Secrets and Carmine Gallo’s The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs. (Clearly “presentation secrets” is the term of the moment…)
Two weeks ago, I created a bracket of books I am considering, and both of these were on that list! It was great to discover them both on campus today. After reading these books last week, I’m glad to have a new pile to dive into.
So far, I’ve found Kapterev’s Presentation Secrets to be organized in a classic textbook style… I don’t know if I will like this or not. I did notice that he thanked Nancy Duarte in his acknowledgements, so that’s always a plus. Gallo’s book, naturally, focuses entirely on what we can learn from Steve Jobs, so I don’t know if this approach will work well for my students just yet. I’ll be able to finish reading both of these by the end of the week, so I’ll keep you posted on my thoughts.
What books would you like to use to teach basic public speaking and presentation courses to college students?
One of the books I’ve ordered to consider to replace our old public speaking textbook is Susan Weinschenk’s 100 Things Every Presenter Needs To Know About People. This came highly recommended, and I was excited today to find a great RSA Animate on the topic:
The five ideas here are simple and important. First, people learn best in 20-minute chunks. Second, multiple sensory channels compete: visual and auditory. The audience will either have a positive experience with these multiple channels (i.e. if PowerPoint and Keynote visuals are used correctly), or the audience will have a negative experience because the visual channel is overwhelming. Weinschenk says, “You know what I call slides with a lot of text on them? Your notes! And you can use notes when you are speaking, but you don’t have to show your audience your notes” (Source). To learn how to create effective, audience-centered visuals, please start here.
Third, what you say as a presenter is only part of your message. Delivery (paralinguistics, body language) is an essential component. Fourth, if you want people to act, you have to call them to action. Fifth and finally, people imitate your emotions and feel your feelings.
What other things do presenters need to know about people?
My Public Speaking team and I are on the hunt for the perfect book for our on-campus and online classes! So far, I’ve been pouring over dozens of books I’ve already read as well as expanding the search to new and recommended titles.
This week, in addition to reading my required textbooks for the Quantitative Research Methods course I am taking at UCF, I also skimmed through The Art of Woo by Shell and Moussa; The Well-Spoken Woman by Jahnke; and How To Deliver A TED Talk by Donovan this week. These texts all had strengths as well as weaknesses for our target audience: nontraditional college students pursuing entertainment-related degrees in areas like Recording Arts, Film, and Sports Marketing. We have to make sure public speaking and presentation relates specifically to the kinds of things they’ll be doing in the future, and this is a challenge. This is a huge reason why I am ditching our current textbook which is lame and doesn’t connect with our students.
We’re also struggling with a few Department requirements. The book must be below a certain price point, and the book must come in e-book format for our students. As a woman who loves hard copies of books, the e-book thing does not make me happy… However, I’d love to find an interactive e-book (kind of like Nancy Duarte’s Resonate in its multi-touch edition). This would be especially helpful for our online students.
My team and I all have very different approaches to public speaking and presentation and place varying degrees of importance on subjects. Some members of our team champion delivery, some champion visuals, and some champion content-related items like persuasion. To find a book that includes all of the things is proving much more difficult than I could have imagined.
Any suggestions on what I should read next?