Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


SXSWi 2009: Presenting Straight to the Brain

Filed under: Utah Geeks — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Last March I went to SXSWi 2009. I posted the notes from two of the days, but conference exhaustion got in the way of me posting the notes from the last three days. After much delay, here they are.

Presenting Straight to the Brain – Room A

Monday, March 16th 10:00 am – 11:00 am

Is there a way out of the oppressive PowerPoint culture that surrounds us? Yes: skip the fonts and graphics talk, and explore how the human mind learns. When you accept what the research says about the brain, you’ll have no choice but to present a clear and compelling multimedia story.

SXSWi 2009: Presenting Straight to the Brain by LauraMoncur from Flickr

Jared Goralnick: Productivity Evangelist, AwayFind

Cliff Atkinson: BBP Media

Kathy Sierra: Creating Passionate Users

Craig Ball: Pres, Craig D Ball PC

Jared Goralnick:

The current state of presentations:

It’s hard to get everyone’s attention. We are surrounded by so much and there is stimuli everywhere. In our office, our computers have a lot to distract us. Even our cellphones are sending us info directly.

Old Powerpoint just doesn’t work.

We never know who is creating these presentations that come from the least likely sources.

Cliff Atkinson:

There is no research that says that PowerPoint is good. Multimedia Learning Richard E. Mayer has done some research on it.

We have assumptions about communication. It assumes there is a one on one pipeline to the listener. We assume they will get it. If the audience didn’t get it, it’s their fault.

This causes, no learning, fragmented learning and the third option is meaningful learning. We’re stuck in the fragmented learning. We have to change the assumption of learning.

Human memory: sensory, long-term memory, working memory (limited in capacity: 3-4 chunks of info). We are facing the eye of the needle problem. We face the limitations of short term memory. We have to respect the limits of the mind.

Sync the two channels: Visual and verbal can get through. Use them together.

Guide attention

Don’t overwhelm your audience. They will only get fragments of the info.

Bullet points aren’t as effective. They won’t tell the most important thing.

Don’t look at it like a piece of paper. It’s a film strip. It needs to tell a story with a beginning, middle and end.

Kathy Sierra:

What turns the brain on?

Our brains still think we are living in a cave. Even when you’re mind is motivated, your brain is telling you that what you are studying is not life threatening.

Your brain and mind are in an epic battle. The eye of the needle is the brain’s spam filter. We can’t tune it. The rules were written a VERY long time ago.

What DOES get through the brain’s spam filter.

Chemistry: That which you feel. Anything that causes a physical reaction.

It looks at things that are bizarre, unusual and unexpected. They only come to our attention when things are weird. Things that are scary or people who look like they are scary. Things that are sexy. Things that look like babies. Things that make you happy. Joy. Play is preparing for survival. Faces. Being able to read facial expressions is important. Brains love to resolve mystery.

The brain does NOT care about normal clip art. The brain doesn’t care about code or words. If you put the scary picture with important code. Cheap trick VS. meaningful.

Talk to the brain not the mind.

Craig Ball:

Listening alone retain 10%

Seing alone retain 20%

Hearing and seeing retain 65%

He used the boring reports and highlighted the important part.

He made timelines to make things look interesting when they were talking about the court.

Powerpoint isn’t necessarily a linear presentation. We don’t have to do that. We can adapt the presentation to the audience.

The Ken Burns Effect

I could break photographs down and animate them using Powerpoint. It’s a feature of Powerpoint that almost no one has discovered.

You can take very complex ideas and help them understand by bribing them.

Wow, this guy is REALLY proud of his 1 and 0 animations. We kind of already know this, dude. You’re not telling us about presentations anymore. You’re telling us about magnetic media.

Jared Goralnick:

What is the biggest mistake that people make?

Cliff Atkinson:

An over-reliance on using the screen as speaker notes. Use the screen as visual cues to prompt you to what you should say. Don’t use the images as a crutch of index cards.

Kathy Sierra:

I think the biggest mistake is not presenting to the brain, but presenting to the mind. The marketing brochure is always better than the manual. Stop focusing on the tool instead of what the person wants to do with it. Help them kick ass. Think more like a marketer.

Craig Ball:

You can hear text and read text. When you talk and have words on the screen at the same time, you force the brain to make a choice and something is going to lose.

Jared Goralnick:

Ignite is the quick slide presentation method helps?

Kathy Sierra:

I’m not good at that sort of thing. There are MANY techniques. What happens between the ears of your listeners when you are presenting. Do whatever you need to do to keep them awake.

Craig Ball:

www.craigball.com PowerPersuasion on his blog.I can gain people’s trust and hopefully they’ll take my word, but if I really want to persuade them, I need to equip them with the information. I can controll focus. Just speaking doesn’t allow you to do that. I get to put the imagery in their head.

Jared Goralnick:

When is it appropriate to use bullet points?

Cliff Atkinson:

That’s a loaded question. Our culture is stuck in that bullet point mindset. It’s not helpful to put the script of our film on the screen. Look at story. Think of it as a thread that can fit through the eye of the needle. You need the images in a linear fashion so they can get through the mind. You need a story approach.

Kathy Sierra:

I don’t think about it that much. I don’t use bullet points that often, but when they are useful, I use them. Sometimes you just want to show a collection of stuff. It you want to convey a LIST, then that might be better. If I show enough pictures of naked women and puppies, then a bullet point is unexpected.

Craig Ball:

It depends. NEVER read the bullet points to the people. If a bullet point has to wrap, then don’t use it. Is it the best pneumonic you can find?

Jared Goralnick:

Evaluating Training Methods (stand up and touch your toes)

We have cheap parlor tricks to engage the audience.

Inspired, Retention, and Learning are the three levels of learning.When is it just cheap parlor tricks. When do people change their behavior?

Kathy Sierra:

I’m known for doing the cheap parlor tricks. I’m always in favor to whatever is in service to the brain. I don’t think they are cheap tricks, because you’re here for a reason. Anything I can do to wake you up is worthwhile to me.

Can I help you make you just a little more interesting? Don’t make a better presentation on X, make a better user of X. Help your audience learn how to kick ass.

Cliff Atkinson:

The shift is to user experience.

Jared Goralnick:

In a connected world, we have this back channel during the presentation. How do we deal with it?

Craig Ball:

They go into Blackberry Prayer Mode. I know I’ve lost them. If you’re going to Twitter, I’ve failed you as a presenter.

Cliff Atkinson:

It depends. It depends on how you are using those tools. There is an opportunity to have that direct feedback. Audiences aren’t going to put up with bad presentations anymore. SN can help to do that.

Kathy Sierra:

I think it’s not that important of a question. We don’t agree and that’s interesting. I just trust in the audience that you’ll do what you need to do. If I’ve done my job, then you’ll pay attention. You can’t live blog everything and listen at the same time,

Jared Goralnick:

One tip that we could use for presenting.

Craig Ball:

PowerPoint is a lousy word processor. Never use a template or a theme. Tap into popular culture.

Kathy Sierra:

Also, puppies. Always ask yourself about every slide. Does it have a pulse? Every slide needs to beg for it’s life.

Cliff Atkinson:

You need a story thread to get through the eye of the needle. Build the three most important points.

Question: How do you manage those expectations? NIH All Science All the Time

Cliff Atkinson:

Powerpoint Culture They are STUCK in organizations. The way I deal with it is that what you are doing is not based on research. Educate internally.

Kathy Sierra:

I face this ALOT. I would include BOTH and switch back and forth. It becomes a cognitive leap for them if there is stuff that they DON’T expect.

Question: Varying educational levels and computer based training

Cliff Atkinson:

Read Multimedia Learning by Richard E. Mayer. The core principles are there with elearning as well as live.

It would be best to have different classes for different levels.

Kathy Sierra:

If you have redundancy, present same information in many different ways. Present the bullent points AND the imagery. Ruth Clark is another researcher to read. It’s not easy to do.

Cliff Atkinson:

Use PowerPoint notepage view to use for the portable form.

The most simple visuals you can open it up more to dialog to actually PROMPT that conversation so they don’t feel like they need to interrupt.You can RECORD that marration and include it on the slide.


No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress
(c) 2003-2007 Laura Moncur