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Unformatted text preview: 134 | CARMINEGALLU TED.com videos allow you metaphoricflly to “step out of the house" and take these journeys of exploration with the world’s to I minds. Open the door. Take a look outside. You’ll discover a world I ' - 5 of magnificent presentations that will help you improve your pub- I I I lie speaking skills and give you the tools to be a more successful ' person in any of your life’s roles. ' 1 I Deliver Jaw-Dropping : Moments Thou shalt not simply trot out thy usual shtick. Secret #4: Teach Me Something New Reveal information that’s completely new to your audience, is pack— aged diiferently, or ofl'ers a fresh and novel way to solve an old' I Problem. ' . I l I' I TED}: speaker and designer Oliver_Uberti once said, “Every _TED CDMMANDMENT superhero has an origin story‘- So do You. Don’t follow-someone I else’s. Create your. own masterpiece.” I find that most communi— cators are far more creative than they give themselves credit for. When they’re encouraged to unleash their creativity and to take an innovative approach to presenting their ideas, they rise to the , challenge. N31: NEWS ANBHBR BRIAN WILLIAMS covers war, politics, and the economy. He doesn’t cover presentations. Why should he? There are millions of PowerPoints delivered every day, so presen— tations, even those given by CEOS and other famous leaders, do not qualify as “breaking news.” Williams made an exception for billionaire Bill Gates, who spoke at TED in February 2009. Gates wants to solve big problems related to global poverty and childhood deaths. He can’t do it alonelI-le needs to engage audiences. Remember, the brain does not pay attention to boring things. Gates knows this, so he came up with a unique hook to grab his audience’s attention. It caught Williams by surprise, too. According to Brian Williams that night: u Bill Gates, the billionaire founder of Microsoft, wanted to make a point when he appeared at a conference of some of 7 LWERJAW-DRDPPING moments E 13 135 [ [:ARMINE EALLD DE I the biggest leaders of the tech industry. While on stage, he opened up a glass jar and said, “Malaria is spread by mosquitoes. I brought some here. I’ll let them roam around._There is no reason only poor people should be infected.” We’re told the audience just sat there stunned, as any of us would be. Moments later he let them off the hook, letting the audi lives and their fortune to a lot of different charitable causes . . . including the eradication of malaria in poor countries in Africa and Asia Where there are up to 500 million new cases every year.1 I know this might come as a shock, but television news reports often get things wrong. 'lhey did in the Williams piece. 'Gates did not say that there’s no reason why only poor people should be infected. He said, “Malaria is, of course, mosquitoes. I brought some here, just so you could experience this. We’ll let those roam around the auditorium a little bit. 'lhere’s no reason only poor people should have the experience.”2 Also, the audience did not sit in “stunned silence." 'lhey roared with laughter, cheered, and applauded. Gates effectively dem— onstrated: . . D 5 1' Bill Gates releasingmnsquitns during his TED zuua yrusenlalmn. Courtesy anames Duncan DauuisnnfTE transmitted by {htlpzlldllneandiviflsan.cofll3. emotion that makes it more likely your audience W‘lll remember your message and act on it. GATES WASN'T FLIPPANT AT ALL A fewsentences earlier, Gates was talking about how many children’s livzstilre saEed due :2: be: ' ' ' " one o ose ves ma ers sears! #5: Denver Jaw-Dmppjng moments it: "nlli:ds::izc1i1.elsri:1:1elif:dd:n eiZihetic presentation, saying that millions of people die from malaria every year. Gates used humor and a shocking moment to drive home his main point. “ ‘ One popular technologybloggerwrote the headime, GATEE UNLEASHES SWARM OF MOSQUITOES ON CROW]? Well, it wasn't exactly a “swarm” of mosquitoes (the small Jar contained only a few). Regardless, the presentation went Viral. The jaw—dropping moment in a delivers a shocking, impressive, or surprising moment that is so moving and memorable, it grabs the listener’s attention and is re— membered long after the presentation is over. Why it works: Jaw~dropping moments create what neuro— scientists call an emotionally charged event, a heightened state of presentation is when the presenter . ... .mzesm _ .“W 133 | BARMINE GALLu A Google search returns 500,000 links to the event. The original- video on the TED.com site has attracted 2.5 million views, and that doesn’t include the other Web sites that link to it. Entrepreneur and Path CEO Dave Morin was the first to announce it on Twitter: “Bill Gates just released mosquitoes into . the audience at TED and said:"Not only poor people should experience this.’ " eBay founder Pierre Omidyar tweeted: "That’s it, I’m not sitting up front any more." A memorable moment gets ' shared, spreading the message much farther than in its immedi— I ate audience, often around the globe. Gates spoke for 18 minutes. The mosquito shtick took up less I than 5 percent of his total speaking time, yet today the mosquito moment is the part of the presentation people remember the most. Most water—cooler moments last as long as it takes to grab a drink I of water before heading back to your oflice. Gates’s water—cooler moment still gets noticed, discussed, and shared five years later. In journalism we call the mosquito shtick “the hook.” It’s the wow moment, the Showstopper, a rhetorical device that grabs your attention and persuades you to read or to share the story (“You’ve got to see Bill Gates releasing mosquitoes,” you might tell a friend as you e—mail the link). ' I’m not suggesting that you bring a jar of mosquitoes to your next presentation, but I am suggesting that you think about your content and identify the most important points you need to make. 'Ihen find a novel and memorable way to communicate those mes— sages. Sometimes you need to surprise your audience in order to get them to care. What’s the first thing you should do when creating a Power— Point presentation? Ifyou’re like many people you’ll say, “Open PowerPoint.” Wrong answer. You should plan the story first. Just as a movie director storyboards the scenes before he begins shoot- ing, you should create the story before you open the tool. You’ll have plenty of time to design pretty slides once the story is com— wwwnmmssmsasww— nELwERiAW-sanepms MOMENTS | 139 plete, but ifthe Story is boring, you’ve lost your audience before you’ve spoken a word. I like to tap in to several senses when planning the story— . seeing, touching, feeling. Stand up and go to a whiteboard, pick up a pen or a yellow legal pad, use a drawing application on a tablet, or even think while taking a walkwanything that engages several areas of your brain. Above all, regardless of the software you use (PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi, etc), don’t open the software as your first step. Your presentation will be uninteresting and uninspired if you do. PowerPoint gets a bad rap, but it’s not a bad tool. It can—and is—often used to create stunning presentations. But ifyou don’t have the story in the first place, your gorgeous slides won’t matter. Every memorable story, film, or presentation has one scene or one event that everyone remembers because it’s so irnpactful. It’s such a well—known psychological device, researchers have at term for it. UNLEASH AN EMOTIONALLY CHARGED EVENT When Gates unleashed his “swarm” of mosquitoes, he hooked his audience precisely because it was shocking, unexpected, and dif— ferent. It was what brain researchers call an "emotionally charged event.” As with every technique in this book, it works because your brain is wired for it. “An emotionally charged event (usually called an ECS, short for emotional competent stimulus) is the best-processed kind of external stimulus ever measured,”3 says molecular scientist John Medina. “Emotionally charged events persist longer in our memo- ries and are recalled with greater accuracy than neutral memories.“ Medina says it all has to do with the amygdala, which is lo~ cated in the prefrontal cortex. “The amygdala is chock—fufl of the neurotransmitter dopamine, and it uses dopamine the way an ofECe assistant uses Post-it notes. When the brain detects an emotionally ‘Gmsfiimh‘mbrkmw.whnimmahsiwn': 14o [ CARMINE sALLo 5.2: lHustratiu ' r ' - Wempflwefflinrus. n cf Dupamlne 5 Influence on the bra'n' Created hyEmFflWaI-efl Presentations charged event, the amygdala releases dopamine into the system. Because dopamine greatly aids memory and information processing, you could say the Post—it note reads ‘Remember This? Getting the brain to put a chemical Post—it note on a given piece of information means that information is going to be more robustly processed.“1 You’re more likely to remember events that arouse your emo— tions than events that elicit a neutral response. Some scientists refer to such events as "flashbulb memories." As it turns out, there’s a reason why you remember where you were on September 11, 2001 but you forget where you put your keys this morning. And under- standing the dili’erence can help you create mere memorable, "jaw- dropping” presentations. REMEMBERING 9/11 AND FDRGETTING YOUR KEYS When you experience an emotionally charged event (shock, surprise, fear, sadneSs, joy, wonder), it impacts how vividly you remember that particular event. You can probably remember not only tubers ”ELIVER ”(W-DROPPING MOMENTS I 14'! you were on September 11, 2001, when terrorists hijacked planes and flew them into the World Trade Center, but you also vividly recall what you were doing, and whom you were with, the expres- sions on their faces, what they may have said, and other small items in your environment that you otherwise wouldn’t pay atten— tion to. People remember vivid events; they forget mundane ones. The Universiq of Toronto psychology professor Rehecca Todd discovered that how vividly a person experiences an event influ— ences how easily he or she can recall the event or the information later. Todd published her research in the journal of Neuroscience. “We’ve discovered that we see things that are emotionally arouSe ing with greater clarity than those that are more mundane,” says Todd. “Whether they’re positive—for example, a first kiss, the birth of a child, winning an award—or negative, such as traumatic events, breakups, or a painfirl and humiliating childhood moment that we all carry with us, the effect is the same. What’s more, we found that how vividly we perceive something in the first place predicts how vividly we will remember it later on. We call this ‘emotionally enhanced vividness’ and it is like the flash of a flash— bulb that illuminates an event as it’s captured for memory.” Todd and her colleagues found that the brain region respon- sible for tagging memories, the amygdala, was most active when experiencing a “vivid” event. The researchers showed participants photographs that were “emotionally arousing and negative” such as scenes of sharks bearing their teeth, “emotionaliy arousing and positive" such as mild erotica, and “neutral scenes” such as people standing on an escalator. The researchers then performed two dif— ferent studies to measure how much detail the participants retained. One study was done 45 minutes after they viewed the photographs and a follow-up study was performed one week later. “Both stud- ies found that pictures that were rated higher in emotionally enhanced vividness were remembered more vividly,” says Todd. “Why did the audience remember Bill Gates releasing the mosquitoes?” I asked Todd in an interview for this book. 142 l GARMINEGALLG “It’s memorable precisely because it’s emotionally arousing,‘ -' whether it is pleasant or unpleasant,”6 she said. “In the brain when you’re emotionally aroused you produce I higher levels ofnorepinephrine as well as stress hormones. We’ve I ' I known for some time that emotional arousal enhances memory. Our study was the first to show another effect of emotional arousal _ - - is that you actually perceive events more vividly at the time they occur, and that, too, increases the likelihood you’ll remember it. Bill Gates’s mosquitoes must have evoked surprise andlfear in the audience members . given that they didn’t know the mosquitoes- didn’t carry malaria. Surprise and fear are both high arousal emo— 3' tions.” Todd discovered that we actually encode important eVents in- ' a far richer way than ordinary events. “It’s as if the event is burned more vividly into our perceptual awareness,” she told me. “Part of the reason is that the amygdala, a brain region that is key for tagging the emotional importance of things, talks to the visual " cortex—wthe part of the brain that allows sight—wand ramps up its activity so that we are actually perceiving those events more actively.” “Bottom line—what does your research teach people who are delivering presentations or communicating information that needs to be remembered and recalled?” I asked Todd. “If you connect to an audience’s emotional responses then they will perceive the information more vividly, be less distracted, and will be more likely to remember it. Use very concrete and meaningful examples to illustrate abstract points. Use images skillfully, whether they be beautiful, surprising, or disgusting.” The brain was not meant to proeess abstract concepts. Earlier I told you about my experience preparing executives at Toshiba America Medical Systems to present a new CT brain—scan ma- chine. They told me that the machine was “the first dynamic high" volume CT that utilizes 320 ultra—high~resolution detector rows to DELIVERJAW-DROPPINE MOMENTS l 143 image an entire organ in a single gantry rotation.” I told them it was too abstract. “Can you make it concrete? Why should I care?” They said, “If you enter the hospital having suffered a stroke or a heart attack, doctors will be able to make a much more accurate diagnosis in far less time and that could save your life. Let’s put it this way: our product could mean the difference between going home and living a full life or never recognizing your family again.” Ihe clearest-messages require specific, tangible explanations. You can’t “wow” your audience if they don’t understand you. THE icmrsr PRESENTATION Recall neuroanatomist Dr. Jill, whose TED talk has had more than 10 million views. It was also the iclciest. If you have a weak stomach, you might want to avoid watching Dr. Jill’s presenta- tion. It'you’re brave enough, you’ll see a real human brain with a i7einch spinal cord attached. Two minutes into Dr..]il1’s presentation she said, “If you’ve ever seen a human brain, it’s obvious that the two hemispheres are completely separate from one another. And I have brought for you a real human brain. 80 this is a real human brain.”7 \Nith that, she turned to an assistant carrying a tray with a brain. Dr. Jill put on gloves, picked up the brain, and let the brain stem and spinal cord fi0p over the tray. The vocal expressions of disgust were audi- ble from the audience. “This is the front of the brain, the back of brain with the spinal cord hanging down, and this is how it would be positioned inside of my head,” Dr. Jill said as she held the organ 1 for everyone to see. Dr. jill explained how the sides of the brain are positioned, how they communicate, and what roles they play. Many people in the audience squirmed, shuffled uncomfortably, and pinched their lips in disgust. But if you look carefully at their facial expressions you’ll find something remarkable. People were leaning in, literally mm W . mi I44 | cAsMINrcALLo on the edge of their seats. Some people had their hands over the mouths; others placed their index fingers on the cheek, com- pletely immersed in the presentation. They were deeply involved. Disgusted, perhaps, but emotionally aroused and engaged—~really paying attention. If more teachers gave “icky” presentations—emotionally charged ones—students would retain more ofwhat they learn in high school and college. Dr. J'ill trotted out her real—humambrain prop again in 2013 for a presentation for TEDxYouth. “This is a real human brain. And when I look at this brain I am reminded that we are neurocircuitry. . .we know more about the human brain than we’ve ever known before and we’ve learned things in the last'ten to twenty years—most of your life span-«—that have completely shifted the way neuroscientists think about this organ and our reiationship with it."8 By holding the brain as she opens her talk, the audience is riveted and more vividiy focused on her words, not just the prop in her hands. Now they are receptive to her funda- mental theme and key lesson: teenagers’ brains are vulnerable, but teens also have the ability to choose their thoughts, which trigger a positive or negative physiological response. “This is your brain. This is your instrument. This is your tool. And this is your power,” she concluded. In 16 minutes, Dr. Jill gave the teens in her audience one of the most profound and memorable presentations they’re likely to see in school. So, back to the original point made earlier in this chapter: why do you remember the details about an event such as 9/11 but tend to misplace your keys? Why do we remember Dr. Jill’s clem— onstration or Gates’s mosquitoesbut we forget 99 percent of POWerPoint presentations that we see? The brain is wired to recall emotionally vivid events and to ignore the ordinary, the mundane. If you want to stand out in a sea of mediocre presentations, you must take emotional charge of your audience. DELIVERJAW-DRGPPINE MOMENTS I 145 “The brain remembers the emotionai components of an experi- ence hetterthan any other aspect.” —luhn Medina, molecular biologist and author of Brain Rules THE UNDISPUTED KING {3F WOW Steve Jobs was the king of the emotionally charged event, the “wow moment.” In every presentation, he informed, educated, and en- tertained. Jobs transformed a presentation into a spectacle worthy of a Broadway production. His presentations had heroes, villains, props, characters, and that one memorable Showstopper when you knew that the price of admission was well worth it. . Years before PowerPoint or Keynote software were even 1n» vented, and even years before TED exploded on the scene, Steve _ Jobs was doing TED-like presentations that kept the audience on the edge of their seats. ' In 1984, more than 2,500 employees, anaiysts, and media filled the Flint Center at De Anza College for a product launch that would revolutionize everything about the way we use computers— Macintosh. The 16-minute product launch also stands the test of time as one of most dramatic presentations ever delivered by a corporate titan. First, Jobs described the power and the features of the new computer, along with pictures. “All of this power fits into the box that is one-third the size and weight of an IBM PC,”9 he said. Most presenters would have wrapped up, telling the audience when the product would go on sale and what its price point would be. Instead Jobs wowed the crowd with one extra, unexpected surprise. “You’vejust seen pictures of Macintosh. Now I'd like to Show you Macintosh in person. All of the images you are about to see on the large screen are being generated by what’s in that bag." Jobs 146 l CARMINEGALLD walked over to a small table in the middle of the stage. A black canvas bag was the only item in the middle of the table. Slowly, and without saying a word for nearly one minute, Jobs lifted the Macintosh from the bag, placed it on the table, reached into his pocket, pulled out a floppy disk, carefully inserted the disk into the computer, and walked away. The lights dimmed, the Chariot: asz‘re theme began to play, and a series of images filled the screen, fonts and art that had never been seen on a personal computer. The audience cheered, hollered, and appl...
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