Presentation Zen Seminar in Paris December 7
Talking clearly & visually about plastic pollution

The animated Sir Ken Robinson

Bored This short animation below was adapted from a much longer presentation given by Sir Ken Robinson at the Royal Society of the Arts in London. In some ways I prefer the original one-hour version for the additional information and also for the richness of actually seeing Sir Ken and all his non-verbal signals. Seeing someone speak adds a layer of richness and engagement over just narration. However, I very much liked the animation-enhanced version as well, mainly because the audio was edited, which I think made the message tighter, stronger, and more memorable. The graphics are impressive. Having the entire animation canvas (which you could have on something like Prezi, for example) would be excellent for reviewing parts of the talk and going back and forth for review. I found the animation extremely helpful as I went back to review several parts of the talk.

The "aesthetic experience"
One of the most relevant things Sir Ken said related to presentation and engagement is when he touched on the issue of students being increasingly distracted and brought up the issue of aesthetic experience:

“The arts especially address the idea of aesthetic experience. An 'aesthetic experience' is one in which your senses are operating at their peak. When you’re present in the current moment. When you’re resonating with excitement of this thing that you are experiencing. When you’re fully alive.
An 'anaesthetic' is when you shut your senses off and deaden yourself to what’s happening.”

“We’re getting children through education by anaesthetizing them. And I think we should be doing the exact opposite. We shouldn’t be putting them to sleep, we should be waking them up to what they have inside themselves.”

Keep them engaged
Bored.002-001We don't usually think of "aesthetic experience" as described by Sir Ken above when we think of presentations or lectures or public speaking in general. But why not? We should be so lucky as to have our audience fully alive and in the moment with us as their senses are totally engaged with our message, a message that resonates and encourages participation. Public speaking and teaching is not fine art, but there is very much an art to it. When we are engaged with an audience in a manner that generates connections, participation, and conversations that affect change, we are speaking of an activity that is far more art than science. And while each audience member — or student — has a personal responsibility to make an effort to understand, it is our responsibility to "wake them up to what is inside themselves" by creating content that is relevant, including them through participation and dialog, and delivering material passionately in a way that stimulates their senses and emotions such as curiosity and amusement gained through discovery and learning something new.

Interview with Sir Ken Robinson
Here's a really nice interview with Sir Ken on Studio Q.


Nick Smith

I just saw this video yesterday and was about to blog about I, but you beat me to it.

I really emjoy these RSA animated talks. I prefer to watch both the video recording in addition to the animated one, though, to get the benefits of both. Have you seen the video of Dan Pink?

It's exciting to me to live at a time when great presentations, not just transcripts, can be mad available to everyone. It greatly increases the chances of people wanting to give a good presentation if they've actually seen one and know how good presentations can be.

Charles Martineau

Garr, I remember back in 2007 when you showed in class Sir Ken's presentation at TED2006. I was blown away and that's when I got hooked on TED. I am currently finishing my master degree and what Sir Ken is saying about the school system "academic inflation" -- it is really true. Professors are now realizing that there is a lot of student that are not made for current academic curriculum of research but because of the idea that you need diploma(s) to get jobs, class size increases and the quality of students and class interactions is detoriating (and I go to a university with a very reputation). These students who are not made for the current curriculum are not stupid...they are quite smart and creative but they end up in the academic inflation cycle rather than studying in fields that are more creative like arts...

Ben Ziegler

Thanks for this Garr. Enjoyed the interview too, with Jian Ghomeshi, Q host. An interesting conversation. Ghomehsi is a very creative fellow himself; writer, musician, producer, and now a rising star in the field of interviewing.

Mike Fladlien

I watched this video as an educator after reading, The Element. With technology changing so fast that even Moore's Law doesn't apply, how can teachers keep up? Thanks for your work Garr, I have to use it in my classroom to keep students engaged.

Kevin Kane

The aesthetic versus anesthetic comparison struck me.

After I gave my last presentation (, someone said it was "a great performance, but more a performance than a speech."

I used impersonations, video clips, props and audience interaction to awaken the audience's senses and to heighten their engagement.

I think we all need to view speaking and teaching as part entertainment and performance. Not just "teaching and talking."

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