Wow 2014 notes


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Why Not WOW? is a presentation i facilitate when provided the opportunity. This is a brief slidedoc, in lieu of notes, I provide to my audience. The working PowerPoint of this file can be found at under the hyperlinked "here" in my 4/7/14 post. I tried to fashion this PowerPoint after Nancy Duarte's free e-book, "Slidedocs."

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Wow 2014 notes

  1. 1. Why Not WOW? is a presentation about presentation. It is a presentation I developed during my adventure of self-publishing a book I wrote of the same title, Why Not WOW? Reaching for the Spectacular Presentation. Although I don’t recall where I found it, I love this quote from Sir Richard Branson, Founder and Chairman Virgin Group (Virgin Air), “If something can’t be explained off the back of an envelope, it’s rubbish.” When we approach a potential slide for a presentation we must start with the question “What is the purpose of this slide?” (“Who is my audience?” is also a question, but we should have that answer at the outset as we begin planning our presentation.) The next question we should ensure can be answered is “can this be explained on the back of an envelope?” (and I’d suggest a small envelope). (Rex’s Wordpress blogsite) A PowerPoint version of this slide deck is available at (my wordpress site).
  2. 2. This was an exercise I took from something I read in John Medina’s wonderful book, Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School. Exercise: How long in seconds, minutes, hours, weeks, months or years do we have when we first get up in front of an audience to capture our audience’s attention before their brains begin to shut down and turn off? Dr. Medina tells us we have approximately 30 seconds. Others I have read (I believe it was Cliff Atkinson in his book Beyond Bullet Points: Using Microsoft PowerPoint to Create Presentations That Inform, Motivate, and Inspire) gives us 120 seconds. Either way, that’s not a great deal of time and the downside is if we fail to grab our audience in those 30 seconds, our audience may never come back to us. (Rex’s Wordpress blogsite)—2 NOTE: Many graphics in this presentation were acquired from istockphoto. Please click graphic above for an answer.
  3. 3. There are a ton of places we can go and find “the rules” for presentation. The problem with “the rules” or using a formula I have found is that these “rules” change with each new expert, situations change, audiences change, we change and formulas are static. So, yes, following “the rules” for presentation can be a great crutch, but I’ve found attempting to understand the science is a better process as the science works in all situations, for all audiences and pretty much regardless of what changes. 3 memories: Sensory (everything our senses pick up with sight being the overwhelming champion) Working (the stuff our brain chooses to process) Long-Term (the things we remember) What we seek as facilitators is to move our information from Sensory through Working and to the Holy Grail, Long-Term. Get stuff into long-term and we’ve accomplished the ultimate in communication. 2 channels: Visual Verbal As these two channels fill the message gets garbled and Working memory begins shutting down. There is less and less possibility anything of substance is getting to Long-Term. If we have a complicated slide with bullets and text and maybe a graph and we’re reading the slide or talking about it, the wonder is not that people can remember so little, but that they can remember so much. We simply must begin to understand that our brains, as big and powerful as they are, cannot absorb the volume of information we ask them to absorb. What is particularly comical is the presenter who realizes “I have 5 minutes and 25 more slides” and turns into an auctioneer, racing through the remainder of the slide deck and ending out-of-breath, but also, “made it,” out of slides. Cut out anything that is NOT absolutely essential and fails to contribute to the message, the reason the slide exists. Become the presentation. PowerPoint is a tool, but we are the presentation. Folks should be listening to us, watching us and learning from us. If we’re violating the science then our brain is simply clouded with all the nonsense and the eye of the needle, which is Working memory, closes and our audience receives very little, if anything and remembers less. Exercise: As verbatim as you can and without looking, write down any bullet point you remember seeing in any presentation from the time you were a baby until now. Of all the audiences I have presented this to, there are one or two people who can accomplish this task. Most simply laugh. They remember none of the bullets, “verbatim,” they’ve seen. The preceding is the oversimplified science of presentation. It’s the science we violate almost every time we get up to do this presentation thing. (Rex’s Wordpress blogsite)—3
  4. 4. is an amazing site. At this site there are thousands of presentations that a whole bunch of incredible people do. Although there is on occasion someone who violates the rule, no presentation is longer than 18 minutes. What’s really cool about is all the ideas these people have about improving our world, but what’s equally as cool is all the ideas you can glean from each presenter about how to, or possibly how not to, do a presentation. Click on any of the graphics of TED presenters to view their TEDTalk. CAUTION: Shane’s presentation contains profanity. (Rex’s Wordpress blogsite)—4
  5. 5. Garr Reynolds is one of many gurus of presentation. Along with the amazing Nancy Duarte he was one of the first I read as I continued this adventure. He has a trilogy of absolutely fascinating books. Presentationzen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery; Presentation Zen Design: Simple Design Principles and Techniques to Enhance Your Presentations; and The Naked Presenter: Delivering Powerful Presentations With or Without Slides. In the Naked Presenter he gives us a great way to remember an incredible way to open a presentation. He simply tells us to use PUNCH. (Rex’s Wordpress blogsite)—45
  6. 6. After clicking each letter, click the arrow below to go to the next topic of discussion Of course PUNCH doesn’t really mean much unless we want to go around hitting our audience, which I personally am not a big advocate of, but each letter of PUNCH stands for something. Click directly on a letter (P, U, N, C or H) in the graphic above to access that letter’s definition. Then click the arrows on the slides you advance to if you want to come back here, or if you want to move on to the next sequential letter, or another arrow altogether. After clicking each of the preceding letters, and to move to the next discussion, click the arrow in the bottom right corner of this slide. (Rex’s Wordpress blogsite)—6
  7. 7. What Reynolds seems to be suggesting is we do something Personal in our presentation opening. An absolutely exceptional way to start just about any presentation is with a relevant personal story, but Personal in PUNCH may be something as simple as how we choose to dress. Perhaps we incorporate musical instruments into our presentation, or a special skill or talent we have (juggling, dancing, cooking, etc.). It might be the way we set the room. Or maybe the fact that we use flipcharts and not a presentation software. So P in PUNCH stands for Personal. Click the arrow below to go on to the “U” in PUNCH Click the left arrow below to go back to the PUNCH slide (Rex’s Wordpress blogsite)—7
  8. 8. What Garr is suggesting we do is something a little unexpected. Maybe it’s slides not draped with bullets and text. Perhaps it’s a facilitator who doesn’t look at notes, or perhaps advances slides without looking at the slide he or she is on. Or maybe a facilitator who starts his or her presentation with an interactive exercise or a story. Something a little unexpected gets people to sit up and take notice. Do something unexpected, the U in PUNCH. Click the arrow below to go on to the “N” in PUNCH Click the left arrow below to go back to the PUNCH slide (Rex’s Wordpress blogsite)—8
  9. 9. Doing something Novel doesn’t mean hand out a book and have our audience start reading, of course, but do something unique, Novel. But make it relevant. It will do me no good if I do something everyone remembers, but what you remember is “man, that Rex is really out there, weirder than weird.” In his exceptional book, Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World's Top Minds, Carmin Gallo dedicates a whole section to the importance of doing something novel. Doing something novel is a great strategy for engaging an audience in our presentation. Click the arrow below to go on to the “N” in PUNCH Click the left arrow below to go back to the PUNCH slide Maybe my Novel is the fact I’m not looking at my slides. I’m not thumbing through notes. Maybe it’s being out in the audience and not behind a podium. Maybe it’s interacting with my slides. Try to figure out something that people will remember for the right reasons. So the N in PUNCH stands for Novel. (Rex’s Wordpress blogsite)—9
  10. 10. The “C” in PUNCH stands for Challenging. Try to give your audience a challenge. “But in my gut, like most of us, I wanted to get better,” I said at the start of our adventure. “How long do we have to grab our audience’s attention before we lose them?” I asked you at the start of our journey. More successful presenters figure out ways to challenge their audience throughout this process. Click the arrow below to go on to the “1st slide for “H”” in PUNCH Click the left arrow below to go back to the PUNCH slide (Rex’s Wordpress blogsite)—10
  11. 11. Some sort of smile at this slide when I bring it up during my presentation. It’s the slide I use to represent several things about the “H” in PUNCH, which stands for Humor. Some sort of smile at this. Most of us, outside of IT folks, are a bit lost, and, consequently, any humor is lost on us. The double-edged sword of humor is actually multi-edged. The biggest thing about humor is that it can be lost on our audience. This becomes an even greater possibility with an audience of increased cultural diversity. When using humor be careful with it. Try it out on some test audiences and heed their advice. Click the arrow below to go on to the “2nd slide for “H”” in PUNCH Other things to consider? If someone isn’t funny, he or she shouldn’t attempt to be funny. Unfunny people who attempt humor are usually just sort of tragic. (Rex’s Wordpress blogsite)—11
  12. 12. This slide is the one I bring up after the preceding. It is still focused on the “H,” Humor, in PUNCH. This one usually gets some people to laugh out loud and generates smiles around the room. I bring this up and shut-up and simply wait for my audience to read it, react, those who were checking their text and email to look up, read it and react, and then I proceed forward with some additional other things to consider about humor. Forget about telling jokes. Tell a funny personal story that doesn’t offend anyone. Jokes tend to be offensive. One of my friends, because I like humor, mentioned to me one day that he was surprised I didn’t do a lot more practical jokes. I said “that’s because they’re not practical and they’re not funny.” Jokes tend to be that way to. Avoid them. Click the left arrow below to go back to the PUNCH slide After clicking each letter, click the arrow below to go to the next topic of discussion Poke fun at yourself and never at your audience, and always, always poke fun at an area of competence and strength. Otherwise we may just tend to come across as the babbling boob who was sort of funny, but kind of stupid. Humor is a great tool, but someone shouldn’t feel like he or she has to use it. A final note on PUNCH: we don’t have to use every single letter every single time. Use two or three and call it good. (Rex’s Wordpress blogsite)—12
  13. 13. Where is the most powerful part of a slide? Eye motion studies of web pages suggest in America, where we read left to right and top to bottom, the top left portion of a web page is the most powerful position to put anything. How often do you notice a company buries it’s most important element outside of this incredible space and instead sticks their logo or tagline or something like that into this critical real estate? Slides are similar in terms of how they are view. The most powerful position on a slide, therefore, is probably the top left corner. What’s interesting, and I apologize for not remembering exactly where this science came from, is the “power” then flows down on the left side. This graphic is not suggesting “Okay, put three words vertically on the left of the slide and then jump to the right and put three more words vertically down the right side.” This slide is suggesting, start in the top left and understand the middle, unlike we have been instructed all our lives (“color in the lines,” “center everything,” “that’s not aligned”), seems to be a place where things we have on our slide go to disappear. When designing a slide, understanding how people reference information on it is important. You’ll notice several things about my slides. First, I don’t use a lot of words. Therefore, if I violate the top left rule I just gave us, my audience isn’t having to work at all to discover my meaning. A kid sitting on a pier with the word “Personal” coming up in the middle- to bottom-left of the screen, doesn’t create a heck-uv-a-lot of discomfort for an audience—there’s simply not a lot on the slide. You’ll notice, too, that many of my graphics hang off the screen. Like the bungee jumper on this slide. Expanding graphics so they become larger than the slide tends to indicate action and motion. Those are both good outcomes. They’re especially essential when we’re trying to show action and motion. You’ll notice, too, all my graphics are just about as big as the screen will handle. If we want people to be engaged in our presentation, they shouldn’t have to squint to see our screen. Generally speaking text on a screen can be seen 10 to 15 feet for every inch tall a letter is, so a 1 inch letter can be easily seen from 10 to 15 feet away; 2 inch letter is about 20 to 30 feet; 3 inch letter, 30 to 45 feet and so on. Are your graphics and text the right size? An easy and great way to check this is to go to VIEW (PowerPoint version 2013) and then click on Slide Sorter. In the Slide Sorter view. If you can easily see the graphic and text on each slide in this view, then you’re probably okay. The larger the room, the bigger the audience, however, the more you’ll need to focus on graphic clarity and text size. (Rex’s Wordpress blogsite)—13
  14. 14. This is another exercise I use where I display the graphic on this slide, less the sloped line, and then click the mouse button after people define their own on their handout to display the animated sloped line running from the top left of the y-axis to the bottom right of the x-axis. Hermann Ebbinghaus’ developed this Forgetting Curve. He was a German Psychologist who did his research in the late 1800’s, early 1900’s. He lived only from 1850 to 1909, but in that short life he came up with his Forgetting Curve. He postulates that if we don’t use what we learn, we lose more than 50% of what we learn in the first few hours of learning it. And this experiment has been replicated over and over and over. One of the faults with Ebbinghaus’ experiment is kids were shown nonsense syllables and asked to remember these. This brings me to my following “however.” However, and this is a pretty significant however, if there is familiarity with the subject, we can greatly enhance our ability to remember. Tying new things to old things is a great way to enhance our ability to remember. (Rex’s Wordpress blogsite)—14
  15. 15. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die is a book written by brothers Chip and Dan Heath. There exceptional book isn’t about “presentation” per se; it’s about how we make our ideas stick, which is essentially all about presentation. The book answers the question “Why do some ideas thrive and others die?” The following slides give a quick synopsis of the abbreviation, SUCCES, the Heath brothers use in their book. Click any Made to Stick graphic on any of the following screens to purchase their book through “A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can even get its boots on.” Mark Twain The preceding quote is used at advertising Made to Stick. What is most interesting about the quote is how it also is exactly what the Heath brothers say in their work: Twain appears never to have said it (#18 at this hyperlinked article), but it’s prevalent enough, and believed enough that it’s used to promote their book. Why do we remember some things, even when they’re wrong or outrageous, but we don’t even have time to forget other things of importance? That’s the question the Heath brothers help answer and an answer critically important to understand for our presentations. (Rex’s Wordpress blogsite)—15
  16. 16. The “S” in SUCCES stands for Simple. Things that are more memorable are usually things that are more simple. This makes a lot of sense if we go way back to the start of this conversation and remember the brain science and how out brain is pretty good until the volume of information starts to overwhelm the couple of channels we have that allow us to receive information. The first question we should ask ourselves about any slide we’re about to produce is “what is the goal of this slide? One of the next questions should be “What do I want my audience to remember?” From that point, trying to get to simple is a lot harder than we imagine. “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Leonardo da Vinci (Rex’s Wordpress blogsite)—16
  17. 17. The “U,” like the U in PUNCH, stands for Unexpected. To revisit this discussion, click here. (Rex’s Wordpress blogsite)—17
  18. 18. One of the exercises, depending on time, I ask audiences to perform, using the graphic below, and to illustrate how easy it is to remember and define Concrete (the “C” in SUCCES), is to first define “Love” and then to define “Embrace.” Usually audience members struggle a bit to define love, a more ethereal concept. With embrace almost everyone comes up immediately with “hug.” If we’re discussing more complex, less concrete things, we have to take the time to attempt to tie them back to an analogy we’re all familiar with. (Rex’s Wordpress blogsite)—18
  19. 19. The second “C” in SUCCES stands for credible. So very many presenters spend their most valuable time, their start of their presentation establishing their credibility by displaying a pseudo-resume or listing the reasons an audience should listen to them. When I give my presentation on presentation I start with a personal story that has nothing to do with my credibility. If I give a presentation and my audience thinks “geez, that sucked,” I don’t care what acronyms follow my name, what I tell my audience. What they are watching is the presentation. If I knock it out of the park, they learn something, they remember things, then I’ve established my credibility. Establishing this credibility is the first step. What we bring to the presentation must have credibility: “Okay, I can believe that,” “Yep, that makes sense,” “I’ve had that exact experience.” A failure in this realm only makes our presentation memorable because it’s something that “can’t be true.” (Rex’s Wordpress blogsite)—19
  20. 20. One of my best friends in high school was Dave Conkling. This is Dave on his boat with his granddaughter. We tend to sterilize our presentations and more often than not drop one of the most important letters from SUCCES, the “E,” which the Heath brothers tells us stands for Emotion. This graphic says, quietly, to me emotion. We don’t need a crying or a laughing fest, but we must have emotion. When I graduated from Texas Tech I went to work for the University. I went to new hire orientation. As the orientation started a man in a suit walked out across the stage with a large, white, 3-ring binder. He plopped it down on the lectern and said “Welcome to Texas Tech University. You have begun a most exciting and…” for an hour-and- forty-five minutes without ever raising his head or his voice. I knew I had begun work in a most exciting career because he told me so before the end of his second sentence. And that was the last sentence I remembered from this two-and-one-half day new hire orientation. Emotion is a critical element in any presentation. (Rex’s Wordpress blogsite)—20
  21. 21. Telling stories is something that has come into vogue somewhat recently. It’s been a part of our history since mankind first learned to communicate. For some reason we sort of removed it from business vernacular a while ago and so a round of applause for its return. This is a picture of my best friend and I singing karaoke at my daughter’s wedding. It’s one of those most incredible memories that I (a) wouldn’t have been able to make without the confidence to stand up in front of an audience and (b) I wouldn’t be able to cherish as I lost my best friend some months ago and therefore all I have are these memories. That’s how important this “public speaking” and presentation junk is. If you take nothing away from this discussion, take away that stories connect us, relax us, open us to ideas, refresh us and move us—as I believe my very short story in the preceding paragraph probably did. There is no reason, ZERO, not to expend a ton of energy coming up with relevant stories, writing them down in a notebook and referencing them any time we’re asked to speak before an audience. No reason. “S” for Story in SUCCES is the most powerful letter I can share with you. (Rex’s Wordpress blogsite)—21
  22. 22. Nancy Duarte, author of Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences and slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations, slidedocs (free e-book) and other works calls things on a slide that don’t add to our message “slide clutter.” If the first question we ask ourselves is “what is the goal of my slide?” the first question we should ask of our slide is “how much clutter can I get rid of?” Slide clutter is anything on a slide that does not provide clear meaning to the core message of the slide. One of the worst examples of slide clutter is probably the following. (Rex’s Wordpress blogsite)—22
  23. 23. Looking at this slide it seems impossible to understand what the goal of this slide was (and my apologies as I don’t know where it came from). It seems impossible to understand what it is we are supposed to remember from this slide. The author was undoubtedly brilliant, but like with many teachers there’s so much “stuff” on this slide that nothing takes priority, nothing stands out and nothing is memorable. Let’s look at the following example to see a slide that really stands out for all the right reasons. (Rex’s Wordpress blogsite)—23
  24. 24. I did a simple survey (surveymonkey) at work. I put approximately 25 slides like this one on the survey and I asked “is this slide effective.” A slide like the one about CO2, yes the screen before this one, generated responses suggesting that it was between 0% and 1% to maybe at the outside 3% effective. This simple (note the Simple, the first S in SUCCES) slide with the yellow umbrella was the exact opposite and generated a 97% effectiveness rating. I did this survey with 3 different populations at work and gave each three different levels of instructions as to what “effective” meant. All 3 populations came up with most similar results. “For every slide I build my goal is to achieve the effectiveness rating of this slide 95% to 100%. A most lofty and most attainable goal.” Rex W. Castle When I read about others who perform these sorts of experiments and ask questions like “what do you remember?” “what was effective?” the results come out more or less equivalent to mine. With or without a definition, people discern very quickly what is an effective slide. This “umbrella” slide, created with a graphic from iStock (I believe) and produced by a work associate, Tricia Cartwright, holds the highest score for an effective slide of any I’ve ever measured, including my own and some others that other experts say are pretty darned good. (Rex’s Wordpress blogsite)—24
  25. 25. This is my final exercise with my audience. I take the master slide from the conference where I’m presenting and ask my audience to circle anything on the slide they now consider NOT to be slide clutter. The big emphasis is the NOT in that statement. So, think about this graphic for a moment (and you probably need to know that before I start my presentation, as the audience enters the room, I have my business cards spread out on their tables, so they have my contact information) and answer the question “what do you consider NOT to be slide clutter on this slide?” Spoiler alert: the answer follows in the right hand column at the bottom of this screen. Every conference I’ve ever been asked to present at my audiences, the vast majority, circles one thing: the title. (Rex’s Wordpress blogsite)—25
  26. 26. I use this final slide after a Q&A (time permitting). A Question & Answer period, too, should come before our wrap-up. It should not be the end of a presentation. Think of all the presentations you’ve seen where a Q&A is the last thing discussed: “Are there any questions I can answer?” the facilitator asks. Usually this is met with somewhat deadly silence, or there are a couple of questions that may or may not be all that relevant to the entire audience. Sometimes I’ve walked away thinking “Gosh that guy in the goofy hat sure had a bizarre question” and a lot of times I remember that goofy hat and not the topic that was discussed. The point is we should control our presentation and the ending, like the beginning is a critical part of that control. I use this slide to go back to the thing I want my audience to remember and I reiterate the brain science because my firm belief is that if people know the brain science, they won’t fall into the trap of “the next coolest method someone comes up to present,” but will know why they want to present the way they want to present and most importantly what they want to present and why. (Rex’s Wordpress blogsite)—26 To APPENDIX: Handout APPENDIX: Handout To Final screen of this slidedoc
  27. 27. Rex Castle contact information: Office: 800.646.2633 (no sales calls please) Email: Office address: Tyler Technologiees 5519 53rd Street Lubbock, TX 79414 (Rex’s Wordpress blogsite)—27