Thursday, October 27, 2011

the Soylent Green Theory of Presentations

It’s people.... The audience is made of people!

People like stories. Talk about the things you wanted to do and the obstacles you ran into. People are captivated by localized suspense; pose the problem—and make sure the audience understands and appreciates it—before giving your solution. Never use “suspense” as an excuse for poor communication, though; suspense is effective even when the audience knows the outcome in advance.

People like stories about people, with agency and fallibility. It’s why we’ll never run out of crime-fighter TV dramas. Acknowledge the decisions you made and explain how you made them. Time and relevance permitting, it’s okay to talk about reversals and false steps. How can we learn where there be dragons if no one admits to straying from the well-traveled roads?

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