Presentation magic

Posted: 30 September 2007 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I hate presentations. I hate making them, I hate giving them. Well, sorta. I actually liked making this presentation for my German class. Rather, I liked the end result. I got a decent grade on it, losing points mostly for not having much to say aside from what was on the slides. My problem was that I couldn’t think of anything else to say about him during the presentation. I could have rehearsed it better, but then I hate rehearsing ten times as much as I hate making the presentation. The thought of rehearsing is anathema to me.

So recently I came across Pecha Kucha, which I think is about the best idea to hit presentations since their inception. I wrote about it in an earlier post. To recap, it’s a presentation style invented in Japan by two Western architects. The idea is simple: 20 slides at 20 seconds each. Total running time is 6 minutes 40 seconds. You have to keep the pace going or you’ll fail. You have to plan the presentation properly or you’ll fail. It’s awesome. The primary benefit of course is that your audience doesn’t fall asleep.

Today I saw an article on Presentation Zen comparing the different presentation styles of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. There was another article two years ago that I stumbled on and forgot about until this post reminded me.  Basically, Bill Gates gives crappy, average presentations while Jobs is memorable (and for the record, crappy = average for presentations). One particular thing stood out to me: the six key features of sticky messages. Stickiness is the quality of an idea or message sticking in people’s minds. To be sticky, a presentation must have these attributes:

  1. simplicity
  2. unexpectedness
  3. concreteness
  4. credibility
  5. emotions
  6. stories

That’s actually a great blog if you find yourself having to give presentations (as I do).

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  1. I just realized that the six attributes form the acronym SUCCESS. I love acronyms. They make it easy to remember concepts like this. Was that your original idea? Now, word sense disambiguation is a new term for me. What does that involve?

  2. Jason Adams says:

    Ah good point, I didn’t notice the SUCCESS acronym. Chip and Dan Heath came up with those, not me.

    Word sense disambiguation involves finding out what meaning of a word applies in a certain context. It’s not easy to do this automatically since the particular meaning of a word can depend on things outside of the sentence or that require real world knowledge. For example, “The ball is red” could mean “The formal dance is round”, but people wouldn’t make that mistake since formal dances typically don’t have colors.

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