3 Reason Most Presentations Suck
3 Reason Most Presentations Suck
Humans vs Robots, a series of Podcasts produced by NPR’s Planet Money Podcast that are nothing short of amazing. The first one I listened to on the way to presentation in Saskatoon, I used one of the stories in my presentation. It was that good!
As the human race progresses, we invent easier ways to do things. The lightbulb put the candle makers out of business. They were outraged. Why wouldn’t people support the candle makers anymore? Doesn’t society have a duty to support the candle makers?!?
The car put horse and carriage drivers out of business. The Better Business Bureau put the snake oil salesmen out of business. Cassette tape put the record stompers out of business, the digital camera put Kodak out of business, Napster put 60% of the record industry out of business, Google put the phone book out of business, what do you think will be next? Are you in that industry? Better yet, are you in the industry that’s going to displace a current market?
In this podcast they lineup three competitions of the epic showdown, HUMANS vs ROBOTS!
Battle 1: Who can fold a towel better?. At MIT there’s a project that has students developing an algorithm that allows a robot to reach into a load of laundry, grab a towel, and fold it in to a prefect square. The students did just that, but it took the robot 18 minutes to complete the task. They also had a young child try folding a towel. It took less than a minute.
Humans 1 Robots 0
Battle 2 was Ellie. Ellie is a computer program that interacts with people. It was made for people with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and severe depression. The theory was that some people just won’t open up to another human, what they’ve been through sometimes it too traumatic to tell someone. But it’s easier to talk to a machine that won’t judge you.
This part in the podcast is worth listening to alone. They have a war vet from the Canadian Military talking about his experience with Ellie, it was a positive one. His story is a moving one, I won’t ruin it for you. Go listen to it!
Human 1 Robots 1
Battle 3; who can write faster a machine or a journalist from the BBC?
Yup, they’ve created a machine to write the news. All the major websites (Reuters, Yahoo news, Huffington Post, etc.) have stories created by WordSmith, a software program that can write news articles. All you need is a companies annual report (the competition in the story was based on Denny’s annual report) and WordSmith puts together an article that isn’t fancy but gets the point across.
The result? WordSmith took two minutes to finish the articles, the journalist took just over seven minutes however the journalist had a little more flare to his article.
The judges had to give it to the robots.
Humans 1 Robots 2
This is a story about a small town in the US that’s slowly being taken over by factories, and no, not traditional manufacturing factories, robotically run factories. This is completely changing the job landscape for many people in North America. It’s scary but you can’t stop technology, some how you have to get a head of the curve.
The future of restaurants will involve this thing called Ziosk. It’s like an iPad for your table where you can order on, get a drink refill, and order dessert. What will happen to waitresses and waiters? They interviewed some of the staff at an Applebee’s that has Ziosk’s. The wait staff hate it, not surprisingly, but it shortens table turnaround (very valuable in casual dining) and increases dessert sales by 30%.
Just think, you may be ordering your next meal from a machine, who will you tip? Do machines need tips? The future will tell.
This podcast is a fictional story of “the last job”. It’s kind of funny, but also somewhat erie. What will we do in the future? We won’t all be working. What will we spend our time doing? It’s an interesting thought.
We hear this a lot; “Our image is our brand!” “Our logo is our brand!” “That ad is our brand!” “Our name is our brand!”
I like Bill Leider’s definition in his amazing book Brand Delusions:
Until communication was put on steroids thanks to the creation of this little thing called the Internet, “your brand” was just a set of beliefs and expectation of what you deliver and how you deliver it. Customers for the most part never talked. There was no Trip Advisor, Urban Spoon or Yelp. Back then your expectations of a product or service could be influenced by commercials, billboards, and other advertisements.
Companies (Brands) could change the way you thought of them based simply on a catchy tune played before a movie or during your favourite sitcom….
“My baloney has a first name…”.
“Everyone loves Marine land!”
“Don’t cha put it in your mouth…”
“Let’s go out to the kitchen…”.
Have you heard an amazingly catchy jingle as of late? Possibly the Charlie Bit My Finger kid or Susan Boyle would be the closest.
Back then it was much easier to get your message out to the masses. You really could create major awareness for your brand or product, and it worked. The problem now is we don’t have one channel we always watch, there’s several hundred. Also, because we’ve been seeing these ads since we entered the world it’s hard to differ the signal from the noise.
Back to the definition of a “brand”.
Everyone else is. Your brand is what people say about you behind your back. Your brand is what I find when I Google you. Your brand is what your customers say about you once they’ve left your store. Your brand is what people think of you whether you like it or not.
You can’t control it. You can only influence it. Customer service can help it (think Westjet), advertising can grow it (think Tim Horton’s), a smart HR policy will enhance it (think Whole Foods), but it’s the combination of every tiny little thing you do. Every time you come in contact with a customer or potential customer they either like you a little bit more or a little bit less. If you still think people can be indifferent to your brand, they probably can, but that’s a recipe for a competitor to come in and steal those customers away from your mediocre organization.
You’re better off creating remarkable experiences with every touch point you have with customers. From answering the phone and e-mailing, to your business cards and promotional items. Everything communication tactic is a chance to show the world what your brand is made of. Hopefully, after coming across your innovative brand several times over, your potential customer says:
“aww shucks, who is this amazing company that keeps making me smile?”. Now you don’t have to sell to them, they already are sold.
Well thanks to a wonderful tool called FollowerWonk we can now find out!
Followerwonk allows you to do searches for people on Twitter. You can search by location, by a word or phrase in the bio or by several different factors. Below the list is made up of people who have self selected their location to include the word “Regina”.
The list is ranked by Social Authority. Social Authority is a metric developed by Moz that helps cut through the vanity metrics out there and measures influence on Twitter. Who would have thought that gaining Followers wasn’t the only thing you use Twitter for.
I first sorted them by Follower count but it wasn’t cool to see all the bots and people who hired bots and the bots who hired people at the top of that list. This is a much better look at the Regina Twitteratti.
Want to find yourself or your ex-girlfriend from Highschool? Hold ‘Control’ and press ‘F’ then type your Twitter handle.
Think about it. People (it’s not just kids for your big fat information) who have a lot going on in their heads have a hard time paying attention to things that don’t interest them. There is far too many things to think about and do than to be wasting time on boring things.
I don’t like when I hear a parent say, my son or daughter has ADHD and it’s affected them in school. I’m pretty sure in highschool I could never sit still, I talked way too much and occasionally was sent to other classrooms to fetch the “long stand”. My grades were always OK, just above average so there was never a need to go get “tested”.
As I progressed in my schooling my grades declined. University is a lot more strict on classes and you couldn’t just “get by”, well I guess you could, I mean, I did but you’ll end up on academic probation.
What kids with ADHD don’t understand (and few people admit it) is that really ADHD is a Superpower. You can think incredibly fast, creative games are easy, coming up with new ideas is what you do. Well, I should say, what some do, others I’m sure are different. Our brain is working overtime, well not to a brain with ADHD, thinking overtime is what it does. And the best part? Once you find something you like and you’ll be glued to it for hours.
It’s this extreme focus that gives someone with ADHD a Superpower. They can concentrate longer, think longer and work long at the task they set out to do. But you have to give us a choice, no one likes doing what they’re told all the time, myself included. In a classroom, at work, in the gym, remember you don’t have all the best ideas, let the other person (or people) come up with the next task, job, or drill. You’ll be surprised how people react when you trust them to
(^Article from Berkley citing several studies on why doing good deeds makes you feel good)
As in, it builds good Karma. (In the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson he talked about the point in which Apple was coming up with iTunes. Everyone was stealing music on the Internet and Steve didn’t agree with that, he wanted a different solution. When the media was critical of iTunes in the beginning Steve was questioned about if iTunes was viable and if it would last, his response was “stealing music isn’t going to last, it’s bad Karma.”
Stealing music hasn’t stopped but iTunes has done very well since it’s inception. Jobs was right, we don’t mind paying a small amount for music, it’s the morally right thing to do.
Everyone could use a little more Karma.
Reciprocity suggests that doing things for others is the best way to help yourself in the long run. We’re all going to stumble in the future, we’re all going to make mistakes, you can guarantee it. If you help people without expecting anything in return, when you’re at your worst the people you’ve helped will step up and be there for you.
Go on, make some good Karma.
Help people, even when you know they can’t help you back.
that’s why most events aren’t that good. How many presentations, conferences, lecture’s, speeches, keynotes, and guest talks have you been in that have completely bored you to death? It’s become an epidemic, and I hate it.
Start with: why will people remember this? Why will my event be different? How do we get people walking out after the event saying “holy $#!& that was amazing!!”. Maybe therein lies the secret: to create “holy $#!&” moments.
Most events aren’t meant to be remembered, but why not? Don’t you want your next event to go down in history as one of the best _________ of all time?
When planning you must ask how are we going to get people to remember this? If you don’t you’re almost guaranteed that people will do the opposite.
Introductions mean a lot in documentaries. They set the stage for what’s about to come. The intro can either turn the viewer on, having them beg for more, or can work against the film by boring the $!%$ out of the audience.
Searching for Sugarman begins with the controversial story of how Rodriguez killed himself. Some say it was a gun to the head, some say it was the most gruesome suicide in history, where he doused himself in gasoline and lit himself on fire in front of an audience. The beginning of this documentary in incredibly captivating, you can’t turn it off or switch the channel. You desperately want to know what happens. A sign of a great story is you can’t turn away because it’s so spellbinding.
K2 is one of the deadliest mountains the world, far more dangerous to climb than Everest, for every four people who summit K2, one dies trying. This is the story of the fateful day 11 climbers never returned home from K2. One of the deadliest expeditions in mountain climbing history.
There are conflicting stories on how some people made it off K2 that fateful day, not every agrees to what happened. Were some people hero’s? Or were they just trying to be selfish. In desperate times, people do some strange things.
You can’t help but be at the edge of your seat the entire time the movie plays. The camera shots, the epic story that changes back and forth, and the mysticism around this life altering mountain that is so very hard to summit.
Whenever a movie or documentary comes out that features animals, it’s hard not to get emotional. Yeah, I cried in Babe, Homeward Bound, and maybe The Lion King, didn’t everyone?
We have a natural (biological) tendency to care for babies and animals (and animal babies). When a documentary like Blackfish comes out you know it’s going to be an emotional ride but what you don’t know about is how these beautiful creatures are treated in captivity. It’s horrible. It’s hard to watch. You’re going to get emotional.
The good news is is that this documentary actually is influencing change in how the public views SeaWorld. Several articles have touched on the protests and how angry people are over SeaWorld, and even a bill introduced in California that could introduce the end of Killer Whale shows in the state as well as importing and exporting Killer Whales.
All of these documentaries can be found on Netflix. I strongly encourage you to watch.
To recap, telling a compelling story in the media, to a friend, on your website, in a video, in an article, remember these three things:
1. Start off with a bang
2. Introduce controversy
3. Pull on peoples heart stings.