Human Super Glue
You’re walking through the park, and see a girl sitting on a bench with her dog. She is eating hard candy. Suddenly, she stands up, hands clawing around her neck. Faint gasping sounds escape her throat. Eyes popping and face reddening, she looks to you for help, and you know that you need to use the …
Heimlich maneuver! Of course, you know its name. But Why? Because, we remember things that relate to our survival. Sitting in a comfy chair at a conference this past week, I was not in any mortal danger; the only danger I faced was losing focus. This presenter, randomly called Julie, had excellent technical information, but was losing the crowd. I left wondering, ‘How do you get people to be awed if your topic is not a life or death matter?’
Find the Glue
The glue that holds any good story, song or movie is emotion. Well actually, there are seven: happiness, surprise, sadness, anger, disgust, content, and fear. Think of Deliverance? Shawshank Redemption? The Hunger Games? These movies all deliver high impact emotions. (If you have not read the books, stop reading this and go get one. Seriously, now.) These emotions reach all of us-- whoever we are, however old we are, or wherever where we live.
So, that’s fine, but how exactly does one turn computer programming for mobile Apps into an action-thriller on the PowerPoint? Being excited about your topic is not enough. (Most speakers, especially on technical or legal topics, are excited. The problem is keeping everyone else awake.) You need to make people care. You need to make people feel something. You need people to react. Emotion naturally flows through us, and if you tie information to that emotion, well, it’s naturally sticky.
Use $1 Million Dollars
What if Julie threw out $1 million on the table and allocated a few hundred thousand to a couple people in the audience. That would've have surprised a few and made all the other’s sit up. She could start her presentation using the people as live participants in a real game demonstrating the flaws, the setbacks and the challenges posed in the tech world. To add spice, she could have people take away some of money from the person sitting next to them for missteps or legal actions. Now, that might have caused a range of reactions—sadness or slight anger. Everyone would've seen and felt her words of warning and had a real reaction to the technical information—even if the money was fake!
What's your million dollars that can you throw on the table to instantly get your audience’s heart racing?
So, you have a talk coming up on the ramifications of new tort laws on all websites. Before you choke your audience's mind with jargon, remember to use your glue and stick your information to their hearts.
And if all else fails, you can always resort to nerd jokes (which, by the way, is next)—or can you?
As always, I wish you the best in making each day count!~ Tyke