Friday, November 18, 2011

Presentation Preperation

As a public speaker  I always look for great presentations to use as inspiration. One of my favorite places to visit for great presentations is TED Talks.  TED houses some of the worlds greatest minds who show how they are changing the world. One of my favorit presentations is by Benjamin Zander who talks about "On music and Passion", as seen to the left. Watch the video first and then let's take a look at what makes his presentation so engaging.

One of the first things Benjamin does is by opening with a story/joke about the shoes. This joke, gets the audiences attention and is related to one of the sub topics, which is how the right attitude can sell anything. He leads this main topic directly into his main selling point of you don't know that you love classical music yet.

After leading in with a joke, he introduces the audience to their current take on classical music. He demonstrates this live and again in a humorous manner. Note that his humor is maintained throughout the whole presentation. This provides a nice energy through the presentation.

After a small jump from the main topic, even though it kind of backs up his main topics, he goes into explanation of the statistics of who listens to classical music. He breaks down the numbers in such a comical and passionate manner the audience follows his every move. Notice, though, that as he breaks the numbers down he makes the data personal. He brings the audience into the numbers making them feel apart of it. Wonderful!

At the 7 minute mark, roughly, he demonstrates how society looks at classical music. How it is easy for people to start thinking about their normal day life. How they get distracted. Then he asks the important question, "What if it is the musician who is putting you to sleep?" With this question, he is asking the audience to pay more attention to what the composer is doing. What is the composer trying to get across.

Fast forward a little bit into the video to where he explains Chopin's piece. He explains how the different cords are used to create emotion and to drive a particular thought. Benjamin then follows this up by saying "think of someone who is no longer here". Again, note that he is making this personal. The more that you can apply your presentation on a personal level, the more likely the audience will pay attention. Make it relatable.

Then Benjamin makes his final point, "whose eyes are you lighting up?" The beauty of this question is that it is giving the audience something to do. An actionable item, if you will. By elaborating on this bit, he explains that his goal is to light up everyone's eyes. His goal is to show people that they do love classical music, they just don't know it yet.

Benjamin is a wonderful presenter and an inspiration to watch. Watch some other presenters and see what they do right or wrong. Maybe this help will make you a better presenter.

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