Saturday, December 31, 2011

Persist with Poise

As 2011 draws to a close and a new year awaits with many more chances to chisel our speaking/presentation skills, we thought it would be worth it to end on a note of perseverance by Seth Godin.
Insulate yourself...
from anonymous angry people
Expose yourself to art you don't yet understand
Precisely measure the results that are important to you
Stay blind to the metrics that don't matter
Fail often
Lead, don't manage so much
Seek out uncomfortable situations
Make an impact on the people who matter to you
Be better at your baseline skills than anyone else
Copyedit less, invent more
Give more speeches
Ignore unsolicited advice
Making sabha better requires a delicate, piecemeal approach, so let's start with the right attitude in 2012.

After all, what better way to start it off with Sunday sabha?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Elevator speeches don't make you Brahmrup

Seth Godin shares this nugget of insight:
No one ever bought anything in an elevator 
The purpose of an elevator pitch isn't to close the sale. 
The goal isn't even to give a short, accurate, Wikipedia-standard description of you or your project. 
And the idea of using vacuous, vague words to craft a bland mission statement is dumb. 
No, the purpose of an elevator pitch is to describe a situation or solution so compelling that the person you're with wants to hear more even after the elevator ride is over.
Similarly, nobody takes away a sticky message by just listening to the shakeup (unexpected) part of a talk. The unexpected sets up the talk, piques attention, but if there are no stories without concrete and credible, everyone will just get off the elevator.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Case Study: Maharaj's Legacy

A fellow Sabhaologist shot this ensemble over to us as an example of utilizing Prezi as a presentation modality for a presentation in this week's kishore-kishori sabha entitled, "Maharaj's Legacy." As we mentioned before, Prezi serves as an interesting alternative to Powerpoint with its dizzying turns and intricate angles.

Note his shakeup as he started off with a reference to TIME's recently published issue in which they named the Person of the Year and then followed up by drawing comparisons to Shriji Maharaj's legacy in three areas: societal change, structure, and successorship.

Given the stories provided in the syllabus, this Sabhaologist concocted a winning combo. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Presenter Pointers #3: Punish Thy Prasangs

Every Sunday (or Saturday), Sabhaologists are on the field monitoring, observng, and analyzing presentations. This new series brings to light their observations and points of improvement in a bite-sized blog post.

As we bear witness to the Occupy Wall Street movement taking root across the nation, we can't help if history is repeating itself. After all, France in the late 1700s stood witness to a bloody new beginning in the wake of the French Revolution.

Enter the guillotine: a razor-sharp blade falling down in the blink of an eye to dish off the head of yet another.

Just the sight of one in action would make us cringe - a similar sensation we evoke with prasangs if they come straight from the paper. Think back to the last time you got excited about something be it a gift, a sports victory, or a pleasant surprise.

That's the feeling to imbue in the prasangs we narrate in our presentations. Just reading them off a sheet of paper kills the power vested in them, and with each faltering prasangs, we take one step back from the point we try to present to our audience.

Here's a rule of thumb: how well can we narrate the prasang without the syllabus? Try it out in front of a mirror, and prasang-varnan will reach a whole new level.

Prasangs are thus the life of our presentation. If not, it's to the guillotine and off with our het - to Maharaj and Swami that is. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Designing Slides

Corso Presentazioni EfficaciBullets, borders, boxes: the three B's of slide design. Throw in one more: boring!

A fellow Sabhaologist sent in this article by Zach Holman that highlights a few principles to accentuate our presentation. His slides wowed the audience so much that after his talk, his slides got voted #1 on Hacker News

Zach notes, "Working on your slide design pays off for the audience in front of you and for the audience online reading your slides later. I learned a lot designing this talk, and I think it can be helpful for you, too."
  • Color: "Color is the very first thing people will notice. It should also be the very first thing you think about." Use lighter shades to accentuate darker shades (e.g. light blue & dark blue).
  • Size: Zach's slide deck averages 150pt with 300pt or more on the high end or 90pt on the low end. Go big or go home.
  • Words: "Letters themselves can be part of the design." Thus, Zach's slides will shake up the size from slide to slide to emphasize different elements - an application of unexpectedness.
  • Repetition: "The best storytellers will repeat the same line throughout a story to build a sense of familiarity, of excitement...Steve Jobs did this often. Before moving onto the next product announcement, he’d spend thirty seconds and go over the same information he just presented. It’s a very simple way of keeping things memorable for your audience." Zach starts each section with colorful, bold text on bright, orange backgrounds.
With Powerpoint's assortment of templates, designing slides seems like such a waste of time, yet if the audience finds our slides a waste of their time, our message is lost.

Maximize their time by creating slides with craft and care.