Phil Plait: Defending the Earth from Asteroids How we don’t end up like the Dinosaurs
Phil Plait runs Science Getaways, a vacation company that providesscience based adventures, and had a three part documentary called “Phil Plait’s Bad Universe” on the Discovery Channel.
In his presentation “Defending the Earth from Asteroids” Phil Plait explains the power an asteroid impacthas, and how we can prepare ourselves accordingly.
“A chunk of rock, 6 miles across, going 50x the speed of a bullet. If you took every nuclear weapon built at the height of the cold warand lumped them together and blew them up at the same time, that would be 1/1 millionth of the energy released at that moment.”
From Star Trek to Ghostbusters, Phil keeps theaudience engaged with references that the attendees can relate to and understand.
Phil keeps his slides very simple, only using a single, dominant image to illustrate a point, letting the Power Point act as an aid. Not as thepresentation. Something Garr Reynolds emphasis in all of his slides. (Is this dominant enough for you?)
Phil’s presentation has elements of Nancy Duarte’s diagram of a speech. With him describing what the current state of an earth defense against asteroids is, andwhat we hope to accomplish soon with ion drives and pushing the asteroids away gently instead of blowing them up.Apparently keeping a probe in orbit around an asteroid is easier than detonating a nuke on impact.
DYNAMISM RATING 5/5 With a quick delivery, supplemented by clever images, video, and jokes, Phil Plait kept the audience engaged and interested. He clearly has a passion for what he’s talking about, and with a clear understanding he belays amessage in the simplest terms for everybody who’s hearinghim speak. His presentation is easy to follow, engaging, and speaks to people of alleducational levels because of it’s simplicity. Dynamism isenergy, and Phil Plait has tons. (Maybe a bit too much. Calm down there Phil.)
Phil’s delivery is fast, but clear. Adding humor and references that your audience can understand make the presentation that much moreinteresting. Don’t be afraid to throw in a joke to lighten the mood. Laughter isn’t something to be feared. It can turn a dry presentation into a memorable one.
“Death from the skies! Is the end near!? No.” “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never be original”Both Phil and Sir Ken Robinson work the crowd, in a lot of ways the two arealmost like stand up comedians in the vain of Ricky Gervais, using humor to get the point across.
Besides the obvious difference of subjectmatter, Ken Robinson tends to infuse hismessages with a lot more personal stories. Hispresentations fall in line with Nancy Duarte’s.From his son’s girlfriend, to his own personalexperiences, everything comes together in anengaging story.
Phil Plait’s presentation is a bit lessimpersonal and relies more on slides forvisual aid. His delivery is much faster andmore urgent than Ken Robinson’s, almost asif he’s constantly running out of time.Instead of using personal examples, he usesactual events or pop culture references toget the point across and connect with hisaudience.
While their messages are completely different, it’sthe delivery and inflectionin their voices which relay a message with the same amount of punch and fervor.
If there is ONE thing that I can take away from thesetwo speakers about how to deliver a speech: BE ENGAGING. Find away to connect to the audience. If you can strike a cord withthem, through story, jokes etc. you have them in the palm of yourhand. They are going to listen to you, and remember what you haveto say.