A Whole New Mind and Presentations: Part Three


After re-reading Dan Pink’s A Whole New Mind, I realized his book’s six senses apply directly to presentations.  In order to deliver a successful message to an audience, you must consider the design of your visual presentation.  In Part One of this three-part series, we covered design.  Read Part One here.  In Part Two of our series, we covered story, symphony, and empathy.  Read Part Two here.

Part Three focuses on Pink’s final two senses: play and meaning.  Play is essential in any great presentation.  Whether you incorporate the spirit of play into visual design, delivery, or content, definitely include it somewhere so that your audience can smile or laugh.  For example, use humor, games, and audience participation in your speech content.  Today, for example, my superstar duo, Jessica and Yannick, presented portions of Chapter 7 of slide:ology.  Instead of reading from the chapter or merely giving us points, they incorporated a spirit of play and audience participation with the game What Type Are You?  We had a wonderful time laughing at the interactive video, answering the questions, and discovering the answers.  The fusion of games into an important or series topic is always important so that kinesthetic, hands-on learners can get it.  Play is also important so that an audience can have fun.  A presentation should be fun; otherwise, audiences would rather be doing something else.

Garr Reynolds emphasizes play in delivery in his text The Naked Presenter.  He explains that in order to really engage an audience, you must show your passion; use proximity effectively; and incorporate a spirit of play into your presentation.  Play can take many forms, but remember that, again, unexpected, creative activities and games; audience participation; and humor always work well.

The final sense in A Whole New Mind – and one of the most important elements of a persuasive speech – is meaning.  Of course, an audience must understand the meaning, the point, of your speech.  As Simon Sinek would suggest, starting with why allows audiences to see the point.  However, Dan Pink’s definition of meaning is a little different.

Meaningful delivery is delivery with naturalness, passion, and authenticity.  You treat your audience as if they mean something to you; you don’t bore them with death-by-PowerPoint; and the time you spend presenting is meaningful for your audience.  Strong presentation content contains a powerful, deeper meaning to weave a connective strand through each member of the audience.  Benjamin Zander’s TED Talk “On music and passion” is a perfect example of a speech with deep meaning for audiences.

What do you feel is the most important of Dan Pink’s six senses?  Which do you think is the most difficult to incorporate into presentations?


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