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June 13, 2007

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Jerrell Jobe

Silence, rightly placed, is one of the most powerful elements of a presentation. Wrongly placed, we'll that's a different story. When placed with discernment, (and given the topic) it can often create a sense of something sacred, mystical, spiritual, powerful. As with the musical example often the 'silence' is most effective just before the "punch" or just after the "punch" (as in the case of the drum beats). Though, empathy may help us be atune to these moments during the presentation, there may be ways we can sense the moments before the "big day."

For me this same principle of presenting (quiet/loud) has to be embedded into my very preparation. In the design process, creative inspiration flows most naturally when I allow for times of loud/quiet tension... Intense research, exploring, gathering, etc... then times of quietness... Time for the core of what needs to be said begin to settle, clarify, and take substance. As Doug King said, we must "learn to pause...or nothing worthwhile will catch up to you."

The more quiet/loud tension we allow to be a part of our daily lives and design process, I believe our presentations will inutitively naturally demonstrate this "dynamic range" more authentically.

Eugene N

I have a question - So exactly when is it useful for a presentation to include silence? I read Jerrell's comments on when it's being mystic and sacred, but I'm thinking those don't come very often (At least, not here where I'm presenting in university classes)

How would I go about doing so in my presentations? Any tips? :)

Eugene N

Ach, that was phrased wrong wasn't it? I'm a student, but at every module I take, I usually give one or two "major" presentations at the end of the semester.

The thing is, these are generally of the "present your findings" type - Hardly conducive to some of the best means of presentations I know - and there's that nattering time limit. I'm wondering how I can perhaps work silence, of some sort, into the equation.

I'm a communications major, so I generally present on communication ideas.

Jay R

I think the concept of "dynamic range" can be applied to characters in fictional works, particularly novels and screenplays. Aren't the most interesting characters the ones who have a wide variety of emotions, motivations, and actions? Isn't dialogue most interesting when things are unsaid (i.e. quiet) or when it's a full-out honest confrontation (loud), especially when these quiet or loud moments are placed in just the right amounts in just the right places in the larger composition.

Someone mentioned "The Sopranos" in another comment. The characters of this series are a great example. The mobsters are capable of the most heinous acts, but they are also family guys with commonplace parental and marital concerns. Internally, they range from excessively confident to completely insecure. Isn't that what makes them interesting? We seem to relate to these characters because they share the "commonplace concerns" part of their "dynamic range" with us. Are we then drawn to them with eager eyes because their "dynamic range" stretches far into territory that most of ours does not?

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