Monthly Archives: October 2009

Using the iPhone to illustrate the difference between conventional Powerpoint and the sort of presentations Keynote elicits

I’m attending a business breakfast featuring my bank’s Chief Economist, Alan Oster. He’s giving a briefing as to the world economic situation so the well-heeled in attendance can be assisted in their financial and business planning.

Alan Oster, Chief Economist, National Australia Bank presenting

Alan Oster, Chief Economist, National Australia Bank presenting

I was fortunate to be given a few minutes prior to his presentation (a stand and deliver, no slides conversational style presentation) to let the audience know of some forthcoming Presentation Magic workshops. I spoke of how the time had arrived to bring presentations to a new level, well above the usual traditional style of Powerpoint which most take for granted as the default means to present complex ideas to all audiences, regardless of empirical and anecdotal evidence to the contrary.

When I returned to my breakfast table to light applause, I noticed how many iPhones were sitting on the table next to the toast and jam. And the thought then hit me as to how I could have really sent my “sticky” message home to the audience:

“My style of presenting known as Presentation Magic is to the conventional style of Powerpoint as the iPhone is to your previous cellphone”.

In doing so, I figured in future those who had iPhones will instantly understand the point I was making, while those without iPhones might be intrigued enough to come up to me after and ask me to elaborate.

That would represent the parallels of two contemporary memes: presentations that engage and delight, and communication technologies that take the means to engage in the mundane (telephone conversations) to another, more satisfying emotional level.

Extra: Just before the meeting, I downloaded part of the script of a speech given by Mark Scott, the Managing Director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation who was reflecting on the future of journalism in Australia and the world, at the AN Smith memorial lecture in Journalism.

The following paragraph from his speech provides an excellent summary of why presentations need to change too:

But we all know for sure, there is a greater thirst for knowledge, for insight, for entertainment, for engagement, for viewing and sharing media today than at any other time in history. Never has the audience been bigger. Never has news travelled faster, or been more accessible in more places more quickly. Never has a big news story reached larger audiences in more ways. Ways of telling stories, making them immediate and compelling and alive, have never been more vibrant.The opportunities to connect and engage have never been more exciting.

Download Video mp4 link for Mark Scott lecture

A wonderful example of pattern detection, presentation skills, and persuasion

One of the big deals I discuss in my Presentation Magic workshops is how the brain acts as a pattern detecting and assembling device, and the more one knows how it operates this way, the better you can construct your presentations to be memorable and persuasive.

There are two professions who have known about this for a long time, without necessarily knowing to a great level the cognitive neuroscience underpinning their knowledge base. They are Magicians and Advertisers. has just posted a wonderful 20 minute presentation by advertising guru, Rory Sutherland, from the recent July Oxford TED, where he offered a wide-ranging, pictorially rich, two bullet points-only talk which I will likely use at some future Presentation Magic workshop.

For now, in the video link below, watch for several things:

1. How Rory weaves stories with pictures, unscripted,

2. His use of language to provide surprising elements of humour,

3. His use of a Canadian advertisement which is a wonderfully humorous example of pattern detection in action. (If you want to jump to it immediately, it’s at the 11m55sec spot),

4. How Rory left his audience wanting more, and had them utterly engaged throughout his presentation. Lots of lessons to be learnt.