Tuesday, May 29, 2012

One minute SUS Example

If you have a minute (literally) you should watch this talk. We talked about Wadsworth Constant. You can remove a great deal of our matter and still make our point stick. The talk below is a great example. Simple message, unexpected using the rocks, and a great story. Also Rosling's is passionate about the subject - that always helps. Could you do this same thing with your Sunday talk? It would make for a very quick - yet sticky - sabha.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Wadsworth Constant: Ignore 30% of Everything

Lone Gunman reveals to us an interesting strategy for speech writing:

Last year Steve Yegge wrote about life at Amazon.com and what it’s like work­ing under Jeff Bezos. On the topic of pre­sent­ing to Bezos, Yegge gave this tip: delete every third para­graph.  Why?
Bezos is so god­damned smart that you have to turn it into a game for him or he’ll be bored and annoyed with you. That was my first real­iza­tion about him. […]
So you have to start tear­ing out whole para­graphs, or even pages, to make it inter­est­ing for him. He will fill in the gaps him­self with­out miss­ing a beat. And his brain will have less time to get annoyed with the slow pace of your brain.

Around the same time as Yegge’s post­ing, a Red­dit user known as Wadsworth pointed out that the first 30% of “nearly every video in the uni­verse” can safely be skipped. As such things go, this soon became a YouTube URL para­me­ter: just add &wadsworth=1 to skip the first third of the video.
This ‘law’ soon became known as the Wadsworth Con­stant. It works.

What does this imply for the sabha.ologist? It seems as if we could safely sleep through 30% of presentations, so the deeper meaning is that when giving a talk don't be stingy with the editors knife.

Get rid of 30% of your matter and refine the rest to make it stick.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

1 and 1 equals 3

Ken Burns talk about stories.

Great stories are everywhere.
My interest is always in complicating things.
All story is manipulation.
Truth we hope is a by product of the best of our stories and yet there are many many different types of truths.
We coalesce around stories that seem transcendent.

Stop what your doing and watch this.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Speaker's Samjan

2-Way Traffic

We've noted the benefits of speaking before, and a recent PsyBlog article adds another.
Janis and King (1954) tested this by having some participants give a talk while two others listened. Then they swapped around and one of the passive listeners gave a talk to the other two on a different topic. 
What emerged was that, on average, people were more convinced by the talk when they gave it themselves than when they merely heard it passively. This suggests that we really are persuaded more strongly when we make the argument ourselves, even if it isn't in line with our own viewpoint. 
The same trick works with attitudes to smoking. People are more put off smoking when they deliver an anti-smoking message than when they passively receive it (research described in Brinol et al., 2012). 
We see the same effect for self-confidence. When people are told to present themselves in a self-confident way to others, they actually feel more self-confident themselves.
Not only does an effective presentation empower an audience, it exerts an equally powerful effect on us as the speaker. We must call forth our faith in order to deliver to others a case for our faith, so in the moment preceding our time to open our talk in sabha, let's appreciate how we've taken one step closer to goal we wish to communicate passionately.