Links to those who "present different"
March 01, 2006
Are you looking to take your presentation skills to a higher level? Links to traditional "PowerPoint help" and "presentation tips" sites getting you down? Maybe you are looking in the wrong place. Here are a plethora of links to different styles of presentations you can actually watch online. We can learn a lot about presentation design and delivery by exposing ourselves to many different kinds of styles, Including (especially?) unconventional presentation styles.
Wikis, podcasting, blogging, business management, and other CRAP
Checkout ZDNet.com. This is a credible, professional website with a loads of free, short video presentations on such topics as: "What is wiki?" "How to podcast." "How to effectively use a whiteboard." "Network-centric computing" and many more. Besides the great content available here, there are some good examples of how using a whiteboard can actually work better than slides (especially the kind of slides your CEO is probably using). While the content may be largely introductory in these presentations, many of them are good examples of why a whiteboard used well can be a breath of fresh air. Now, why can't someone invent a cool four-color clickable whiteboard pen that won't dry up in ten seconds?
Here are some good ones (there are many more; scroll down to see videos available by category on the ZDNet site):
• Tagging 101
• Podcasting 101
• A load of CRAP
• LCDs cut energy costs
• Using RSS
Steve Jobs introduces new Apple products
Here is a short 12-minute clip of Steve (on ZDNet) presenting the new Apple products yesterday to the media in the Town Hall Auditorium located in building #4, Infinite Loop (and here's another clip). This is a really great little theatre. I've presented on that stage 4-5 times myself. Very nice setting for both the presenter and audience. I loved attending presentations there. The blue lighting looks like a temporary thing for this event. I think the room looks better without the artificial, cool, blue lighting (but no big deal). Here's a cool QTVR of the Town Hall Auditorium at #4 Infinite Loop. And here are some photos from the Apple media event from the ZDNet site.
Guy Kawasaki Live on the "art of innovation" at UCLA
Someday, Guy may have such powerful name recognition and authority that his keynote addresses may be no longer than these two simple words: "Guy Kawasaki." Until then, though, Guy can continue to enlighten, inspire, and educate audiences across the globe with his experience, wit, and candor. Although I have seen Guy do similar talks and know the material well, I still enjoyed watching him online (and learned a thing or two as well). His struggles with the PC are an amusing plus. If you are easily offended by non-conventional presentations, you may not like this one. And by Guy's own admission, he may have used the words "sucks" and "crap" more than in any previous keynote presentation in the history of keynote presentations. Get Guy's slides and the link to the online video.
What the...? OK, I know what you are saying: "What do standup comedians have to do with presentation skills?" Standing up before an audience with nothing between you and the crowd except a microphone stand — and an audience expectation that you will make them laugh — has got to be one of the hardest things in the world to do. I do a lot of presentations and keynotes, but I do not think I have the grapes to do what some of these men and women do.
Great standup comedians are accomplished story tellers. We can learn a lot by observing their talents. I'm not suggesting that you be funny or that you tell jokes. For us non-comedians in professional settings, jokes or forced humor are usually disastrous. But what we have in common with professional stand-up comedians is that we too aim to evoke something from our audience. We hope, even in the tiniest of ways, to make a difference.
Take a look at this one by Lewis Black. Lewis has had it with Starbucks: "When you put a Starbucks across from another Starbucks — that's it! Game over! A sure sign that the end of the universe is here. I like this bit from Carlos Mencia (sorry, may be offensive to some people) I also like the UK's Jimmie Carr. Simple one liners, good timing. Good use of the dramatic pause here and here. Mitch Hedberg has a unique style. The Daily Show and The Colbert report are also worth checking out for examples of how visuals and narration can be synched in harmony to evoke emotion (in this case, laughter).
I'd love to hear from you. Have any links to good examples of different presentation styles we can see? Please send me a note or add the link in the comments section.
"Presentation Zen" is increasingly becoming part of the vernacular it seems. Checkout the third line on the left of the table here. I love Kathy Sierra's writing and I am honored to be mentioned on the Creating Passionate Users website. Rock on, Kathy!