I like to spend a few hours each week watching online video clips of presentations and speeches from various fields. I receive many links to obscure or forgotten speeches of the past from Presentation Zen readers; I appreciate those links very much. Below are just a few links to presentations, interviews, and speeches that I particularly like, a potpourri of oration and conversations from science, business, politics, and the arts.
Nobel Laureate, Dr. Leon Lederman
Here you can see (click on "sync video") a very interesting talk at the "American Renaissance In Science Education: Physics First" summit held in Illinois, USA last month. Dr. Lederman is a brilliant man and very engaging as well. He's at his best in this talk when he gets away from the notes (which were also serving as visuals) and speaks more extemporaneously. You can see the visuals (transparencies) that he used. Can you think of ways that this presentation could have been even better?
My favorite line from Dr. Lederman's presentation: "What do we want them to remember ten years from now?" Exactly! Presenters, too, must ask themselves in the preparation stage, what do I want them to remember tomorrow (or next week, etc.)? The genesis of most poor presentations (or teaching?) can be traced back to the failure of the presenter to consider this question. As for high school students, what will they remember ten years from now? According to Dr. Lederman:
"They'll remember the stories you tell them or the demonstrations that you do.... They'll remember the stories you tell them of how science works and the messy process of discovery...."
-- Dr. Leon Lederman
Dr. Richard Feynman (The pleasure of finding things out)
"Nobelist Physicist, teacher, storyteller, bongo player." An engaging man. Great interview. No, excellent interview! You do not have to be a physicist to appreciate this man. See "The pleasure of finding things out."
Frank Zappa (on censorship in the US)
Zappa gets his points across here on a Crossfire debate (1986), and in a good interview with Johnny Carson (1989). Debate teams may find the Crossfire interview especially interesting. Crossfire is no longer on the air. An appearance by Jon Stewart is rumored to have brought Crossfire down.
Dr. Martin Luther king (I have a Dream, 8/28/63)
Content, delivery, presence. Simply amazing. I've read the speech many times, but when I see and hear the speech I feel inspired and motivated. See the speech.
Steve Jobs' Commencement speech at Stanford (June, 2005)
A speech -- especially a commencement speech -- is different from a presentation, but Steve Jobs pulls this off brilliantly. A wonderful speech. The best speeches tell stories and paint pictures with words and share personal, relevant, and memorable information that have lasting meaning to the audience. (See text from the speech.)
• "Demo God," Steve Jobs (circa 1992)
NeXTSTEP Release 3 Demo. One of the few CEOs who can actually do his own demos. It looks easy. It isn't.
• Steve Jobs in 1984 (Macintosh introduction)
Not bad at all. But he's certainly become a much better presenter over the years. (And, thankfully, he's lost the bowtie).
An interview with George Bush's Presidential Speechalist, Harlan McCraney (a.k.a. Andy Dick).
Do you have any sample speeches, debates, or presentations that you think are particularly interesting? Please let us know.