TED has put up one of the most compelling presentations by one of America's most remarkable men. I found this presentation remarkable on many, many different levels. The presenter, Bill Strickland, is an ordinary man who has accomplished something extraordinary — something that "could not be done." Bill Strickland has a fascinating story that he tells on stage in a straight forward, conversational style. His story is amplified naturally by the use of photos projected on a screen behind him. And he tells his story—and this is the cool part—while the legendary Herbie Hancock provides a beautiful backdrop and natural musical augmentation to this great story throughout. The content is wonderful and inspiring and the delivery serves as a reminder: Presentation is never just giving the facts, it's a performance and it is art, "the art of presentation." It's not fancy and it's not high-tech, but like the art of jazz itself, its authentic, naked, and real. Watch it below or go here to download the video. (Note: after a few minutes the balance with piano and voice on the video gets smoothed out. The slide of Bill Strickland above is from The Impossible Movie on his website; click to enlarge slide.)
After you watch the TED video, go to Bill's website and checkout all the video clips of Bill on stage. I am inspired by this man's work, vision, and his ability to deliver his message and tell his story. Just another example of how important the art of presentation is. If you are going to lead—if you are going to change the world and not just talk about change—then you have got to be able to stand and deliver your story with clarity, conviction, and grace. It's true for CEOs and it's true for social entrepreneurs...and it's true for you and me.
Watch the "Impossible Movie" from Bill Strickland's website. Here are just a few slides from this online presentation below:
When we started out some twenty years ago, most of our students were African-Americans from the city’s poorest neighborhoods. Today, almost half our student body is made up of disadvantaged white folks. We greet them all with the same basic recipe for success: high standards, stiff challenges, a chance to develop unexplored talents, and a message that many of them haven’t heard before—that no matter how difficult the circumstances of their lives may be, no matter how many bad assumptions they’ve made about their chances in life, no matter how well they’ve been taught to rein in their dreams and narrow their aspirations, they have the right, and the potential, to expect to live rich and satisfying lives.