Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Stop! You're giving me a headache...!

Many who attend the fabulous Ted conference each year say they end up with a "TEDache". The format for presentations is approx 15-20 minutes each, with each speaker as profound as the last. It's a kind of information overload headache.

I was watching six amazing speakers live the other day, each with majorly good speeches, each speaking for 20 minutes long, and I too got a headache from the ideas.

It may be that we can only receive so many ideas in one hit, but it also got me thinking about what the presenter can do to make the pain disappear.

Here are some ideas:

1. Share the direction. A lot of the headache, I reckon, is that the audience ends up in receive only. Try to get a conversation going so you are talking with the audience, not just at it. Interaction, questions and answers or even streaming a live back-channel twitter feed can help with this.

2. Mix it up. You need to also use visual variety to your advantage. Still and moving, elegant and organic, conceptual and contextual. Insert short videos, different voices and some moving animations you narrate over.

3. The messenger is the message. Come alive and use your body to express your ideas. Animate a model with your body. Use character voices and amplify your authenticity by bringing more of your personalities to the stage.

4. Create light and shade. Bette Middler, when asked about how she does what she does said, You need to make em laugh, and make em cry. Humour, storytelling and other dramatic techniques make it easier to listen to you for longer.

You need a great message, and you also need a fabulous method. It is no longer ok to have one without the other.


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