It’s time for a change! Welcome to Presentation Magic…

After several years using Blogwavestudio as my blogging software, and housing my presentation thoughts on my Cyberpsych blog, it’s time for a change.

Actually the change was foistered on me, after my seemingly indestructible Powerbook G4 (c.2004) got a cracked screen courtesy of your’s truly, and Blogwavestudio couldn’t make the transition from a PPC to an Intel-based Mac. It didn’t help either that the software developers, from Korea, were nowhere to be found.

Blogwavestudio was hardware-bound: I had to have my Mac with me to blog and publish. Sure, I could write an entry then wait to get to the Powerbook and transfer it. But that was tedious, and with the iPhone due for launch in Australia sometime this year, the invitation to blog at will is likely to prove too strong. I can’t tell you how many blog entries I’ve developed on train trips, or while waiting for someone, and not had the opportunity to publish it almost immediately… in which case, it vanishes.

With WordPress, I’m hoping to blog more often, and enable a better comments system to run, as well as Web 2.0 features like tags, categories, and other social networking possibilities.

Why the title “Presentation Magic”?

Well, this was the name given to my presentation on using Apple’s Keynote at Macworld 2008 by Paul Kent, Macworld’s Director. This was my first time at Macworld at it came at Paul’s invitation, as he was a reader of my Cyberpsych blog which covered things Apple as well as presentations.

The actual presentation I gave went over well, and I’m hoping to return to the US this year to offer more presentations and training for those ready to change the way they present.

The “magic” in the title doesn’t refer to doing extraordinary things with Keynote or Powerpoint. It more refers to how magic is an important part of human life, something that both entertains, intrigues, confuses, and persuades us. All things that presentations are capable of performing.

As a psychologist, I have always been interested in illusions and how humans can be fooled. In my clinical work, patients are often “fooled” by the messages their bodies send them, and perceive danger where it doesn’t exist, thus narrowing their opportunities.

Good presentations are effective by understanding how the human mind works, and strive to use current knowledge of the cognitive sciences to help audiences understand complex messages.

More than ever, audiences are being bombarded with presentations which are presenter-focussed. Magicians are always audience-focussed, knowing how audiences function and surprising them when their misdirection leads to an “aha!” moment.

The audience doesn’t really care how you pulled off your magic, they just want to be entertained. Professional audiences who have come along to be educated, and wish to leave knowing more than what they knew beforehand, aren’t interested in how you performed your magic (ie., animations, transitions, etc). That might interest those in the audience who too are presenters. But the special effects are there as augmenters of the presenter’s knowledge base, to help him or her transfer knowledge in the simplest and easiest manner. Easy for the audience that is, often hard for the presenter, as they need to be creative, well-rehearsed, and of course, knowledgeable of the subject at hand.

That’s why good presenters are paid well, get invited back, and are sought for training: their talents are in short supply!

In the next few months, I’ll be elaborating on my presentation ideas, keeping this blog updated frequently as new ideas come to mind, and I give presentations and use the blog as a journal to debrief myself. I expect you’ll learn heaps as you read the articles.

But be aware that many of the ideas you’ll read are quite subversive, and you may not be able to present in your usual fashion once the ideas penetrate possibly years of traditional presentation giving. Certainly, that’s the feedback I get after people have seen me present about presenting: Doing the walk and the talk at the same time is profoundly interfering to how most people present currently.

5 responses to “It’s time for a change! Welcome to Presentation Magic…

  1. Les,

    I have been wondering what the heck had happened to your site. Been clicking on the old one now for months with no luck. Great to see you’re back on-line with your wonderful site.

  2. Les,

    I second Bill’s note–been checking in to CyberPsych blog since February with no luck. Glad to see you’re back and look forward to reading your new blog.

  3. @ frazman and Bill: Ta for being so patient. It’s not that I wanted to neglect my blogging, but the antiquated blogging software I used simply couldn’t make the transition to the Intel world, and it was orphaned by the Korean developers. I hummed and hah’d about what platform to use, and ended up here after much deliberation, using free WordPress. I had fingers crossed that they would release an app. for the iPhone which they did, so expect more frequent blogging and my sharing of thoughts about presenting and Keynote. In particular, I’ll be using the blog to suss out ideas for my Macworld 2009 Powertools workshop, just confirmed a day or two back. Having looked around the blogosphere and seen an increasing number of presenting blogs all saying much the same thing, I’m guessing there’s room for my more quirky style of thinking!


  4. Les,

    I look forward to more of your ideas and opinions about creating memorable presentations. I have sat through more death-by-PowerPoint presentations than I care to remember. It still amazes me what passes for an effective presentation these days.

  5. Hi Les, good to know you’re still online – like Bill & Frazman, I’d missed your blog. Glad to have found your new home.

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