I was watching this lecture by Umair Haque from the Brite Conference. It is a very interesting lecture where Haque claims that the creativity of the past is not good enough for the new economy and the new world. This is the second time this week I see an attack on the notion of creativity as we know it (link in Hebrew). I will not attempt to explain what Haque is saying because I am not sure I totally understand it (I really liked some of the examples and really disagree with some others). I will let you see and decide for yourselves. What I want to talk about is the way Haque gives his presentation.
Haque is not a very articulative presenter. The flow of the speech is not consistent. He does not capture the audience with good use of voice, movement or structure. But, one thing stood out -the visual aid he is using. Haque is not using regular PowerPoint presentation slides. Instead, he is using some kind of big flash or java sheet that allows him to “sail” (there is no other word I can think of to describe it) between the different points, magnifying on one point for a second and then moving to another. I never seen anything like it used in a presentation. The constant movement across this sheet, which represents linkage of different ideas, creates not only great repetition of the main ideas but a great sense of understanding of the connections between them.
This got me thinking. My training in presentations comes from the education background. I learned how to speak, present and structure according to the frameworks of education. I find myself struggling many times adapting this “bias” I have when I tried giving different kinds of presentations. When you teach, a lot of your concentration should go to structure and keeping consistency. You don’t use differences and surprises a lot, only when trying to make certain points. In other types of presentations, especially one time presentations, being different, surprising and inconsistent is a great and important tool that should be used throughout the presentation.
Haque’s presentation captivated me even though his regular public speaking skills were not remarkable. Because he used a new and different technological tool. That takes courage, but that also made him special, and made me pay attention closely. This shows that you don’t have to be a great speaker. You can use technology smartly in order to amplify your message. I hope to see more and more new tools that will allow us to create new visual aids that help improve our presentations.