Friday, May 4, 2012

Improving presentations . . .

I finally prioritized some time to go through the posts that have been accumulating in my blog file and found this one from The Heart of Innovation. In it, Nancy Duarte makes a TED talk on what makes a good presentation. It is 18 minutes in length, but if you are interested in this area I would recommend you find the time to view it. Duarte and Garr Reynolds (Presentation Zen) are considered experts in this field and have had a powerful influence on my power point presentations and the planning and thought that goes into them.

In Duarte’s TED talk she shares her story that led to a model for powerful presentations that revolve around story with the simple three part structure shown below.

She uses an analogy from Star Wars to clarify the role of the presenter. Luke (the likeable hero) is called to action, but is reluctant and encounters setbacks along the way. Yoda (the presenter) plays the role of the mentor who supports the necessary changes that move Luke’s current reality to a new place, the vision of a better world. Far too often in our experience we (likeable hero) have a vision of a changed world, but we allow the roadblocks along the way or projected roadblocks to convince us that our current reality isn’t so bad and we abandon the preferred vision. I think that one of the points in Duarte’s talk is showing us how stories told in powerful ways can lead to others aligning with the better place. Her study of the field led to the format below for conveying that story in a way that others can relate to and climb on board for the trip to the preferred vision.

The GAP in red (my insert) needs to be as large as possible so that the listener can see how the world will be a better place when the shared vision becomes the new current reality. She uses Steve Job’s unveiling of the iphone and Martin Luther King’s I Have A Dream Speech to show how this pattern was used successfully by the presenters to move their audience to a new and special world, an idea they had that transformed the world. I am not in the business of transforming the world, but I do have a responsibility to provide leadership and vision for our school system. That is not possible without the opportunity to tell my story and have others embrace the journey. All of us have the same responsibility in our work, the audience simply changes. The strategies in this TED talk will assist you in being able to convey your ideas in a way that increases the likelihood of bringing followers on board. I want to put my ideas out there for others to see and hear and I want them to gain traction so I will incorporate Duarte’s suggestions into my work.

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