Tag Archives: technology

Presentation Styles: Old School vs. New School

21 Jun

It’s an age-old argument.  Whether it’s music, fashion or lifestyle, people are constantly debating the pros and cons of old vs. new.  Do fundamentals outweigh breakthroughs?  Is a fresh approach more effective than maintaining tradition?

These questions are often very difficult to answer.  However, they are worth exploring.

At Big Fish, we frequently ponder this issue when it comes to giving and designing presentations.  There are many different approaches to presenting, all of which can be very effective when executed properly.

For example, when presenting to a small audience it can be very beneficial to the speaker to go more old school.  Talk to your audience as if they are actually people.  A tech-show to 5-10 people feels impersonal and can seem like overkill.  Forget the fancy motion graphics and charts if you are covering internal information.  Flashy doesn’t impress everyone, especially if they are your co-workers.

On the other hand, if you’re presenting to a larger crowd, technology can play to your strengths.  Since you can’t fully engage everyone in such a massive group, using a digital setup is great for keeping your audience on their toes and entertained.

What about design?

A simplistic design (old school) is nice in almost every single situation.  Our job is to simplify content and break it down so that it is easily digestible for your audience.  A blur of color, sound and information loses retention with your audience.  Make sure to include all of the information, whether on the slide or in your own words, but don’t overload them.

A new school approach to design is to be loud and attention-grabbing.  This approach is effective if the tone of the content is in sync with your design.  For example, if you are presenting about next quarter’s projections, you probably shouldn’t use funky fonts and grainy textures.  You should keep it elegant and clean, just like the information.  However, if you are giving a presentation about a rock band, the flavor of the design should be that of the style – spunky, fun and entertaining.

There are always exceptions to these insights.  Don’t be afraid to try something new or out of the ordinary.  The only thing you have to remember is your target audience.  What would they respond to the best?  What are they looking for? Craft your presentation to their perspectives and then WOW them with your mad presentation skills!

Which style do you think is most effective at which times?  What is your favorite style?

Let us know by commenting below or on our Facebook page or by tweeting us! Also, check out our YouTube page and subscribe for our latest and greatest videos and projects!

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Rory Sutherland: Perspective is Everything

10 May

This week’s presentation breakdown features brand specialist Rory Sutherland.  “Rory Sutherland stands at the center of an advertising revolution in brand identities, designing cutting-edge, interactive campaigns that blur the line between ad and entertainment.” (TED.com) We take a look at his newest TED talk as he delves into the realm of perspective, applying psychological solutions to economical and technological problems.  Take a gander, and let us know what you think in the comments below or via Twitter or Facebook as well!  Enjoy!

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Rory Sutherland

Perspective is Everything

 

0:00-1:25 – Begins presentation with a personal insight about smoking

  • Sutherland’s insights on smoking bans in bars give the audience an immediate sense of where he stands as well as the tone of his perspective.  By giving the audience a solid tone, which includes humor, we are more readily primed for receiving his insights to come.

1:25-1:49 – Transitions from the joke into a broad message

  • He has the audience laughing, which is a great way to get them listening.  Once he has them listening, he introduces his first real concept: “The power of re-framing things cannot be overstated.” Now, after having heard a humorous example of the concept and then a brief summary of the concept, we are ready to dive into the subject at hand.

1:49-2:56 – Delves further into the concept by giving an example

  • Moving on, Sutherland continues to address the concept, but instead of speaking in generalities, he gives an example, in this case it is about the framing of unemployment in England.  As we all know, using an example is a useful tool in explaining a concept, but it is also an effective Segway from summary to breakdown.

2:56-3:12 –Breaks down his previously mentioned concept with a basic informational slide

  • Here is the breakdown we were expecting.  The unique thing about this breakdown is that Sutherland keeps it very brief and  doesn’t overburden his audience with an in-depth look just yet.  We can take a guess and assume that he will refer back to this slide once he sprinkles in a few more examples.

3:12-3:54 – Gives another example of his concept by explaining an experiment

  • We are returning to an example.  This time, Sutherland explains a brief, clear experiment that proves his point.  We are given a scenario that reinforces an ideal.  This further solidifies our understanding of Sutherland’s concept, which keeps us interested and curious for more.

 

3:54-5:05 – Addresses another principle, then follows-up with an insight that relates to the principle

  • “The circumstances of our lives may actually matter less to our happiness than the sense of control we feel over our lives.” This is a new principle, but it does relate to the previous one in a sense.  Humans perceive happiness based on the amount control they have over their circumstances.  We’re back to the idea of perspective.  After giving a brief, real-world application, we can begin to see how Sutherland is blending multiple angles in order to shed light on a bigger issue.  A great presenter slowly and carefully builds up his case with examples and smaller concepts in order to fully enrich and entertain an audience.

5:05-6:23 – Enters a deeper discussion concerning psychology as it relates to economics and technology

  • As Sutherland continues to unfold his ideas, he makes the shift into a deeper discussion about perspective in the realm of psychology.  As an audience, we begin to gain a greater understanding of the big picture, so to speak. 

6:23-7:20 – Gives yet another example of the previously stated concept (psychological solutions to technical and economical problems)

  • Sutherland continues to create an easily understandable path for the audience by weaving examples and numerical values with his broader concepts.  Sutherland’s idea of merging Psychology with traditional practical solutions is showcased through the Eurostar example in an engaging, slightly humorous way that informs and entertains the audience.

7:20-8:02 – Segways from the example into yet another concept

  • Sutherland has given us a grasp of what psychology can do for practical solutions. Now, he is shifting into what this idea means in terms of the psychological and creative practitioner’s role in the traditional forms of problem solving.  He proposes the notion that creative people have been labeled inferior to the logic-based ideas of technologically-minded and economically-minded people.  There is asymmetry.  This shift of concept is key in terms of explaining Sutherland’s overarching idea.

8:02-9:22 – Reinforces the previously stated concept with two examples

  • Sutherland is the king of examples.  As he explains the concept of psychological solutions, he addresses case studies that support his claim, explaining why they work and how they relate to perspective/psychology. 

9:22-10:53 – Refers to a diagram that explains the “Sweet Spot” between Psychology, Technology and Economics, then provides two examples

  • Sutherland uses a visual to enhance the audience’s understanding of the concept of the “Sweet Spot.”  It’s important to remember the power of visuals in your presentation.  If Sutherland had merely stated his concept, it would become muddled with the rest of his words.  However, by using visuals he has given his audience a reference point and a distinct symbol that will make more of an impression in their memories.  Also, Sutherland’s concept of the “Sweet Spot” becomes further developed, and therefore understood more clearly, by his use of examples (Google and television sets).   

10:53-11:19 – Proposes a psychological solution to a medical problem

  • Even though Sutherland has given examples of possible solutions to an array of problems, in this solution, Sutherland has addressed another realm of problems: the medical field.  By giving a diverse range of problems and solutions, Sutherland has built credibility for his proposed idea.  Throughout the presentation, we have seen Sutherland’s knack for introducing, explaining and reinforcing concepts.  Keep in mind that a consistent and thorough discussion of any topic establishes and reinforces your credibility as a speaker and a source of information.

11:19-13:12 – Discusses the psychological forces behind economic choices

  • Sutherland explains that money isn’t just money.  People’s payments are influenced by where the money goes.  Sutherland is slightly shifting the direction of his presentation by speaking increasingly of real-world changes.  This is the first step to calling the audience to action, which is a crucial factor in a great presentation.  He proposes that this mode of thinking could radically alter the current approaches of economics, medicine, technology, etc.

13:12-18:25 – Concludes the presentation by funneling the broad concept of perspective into an analogy, then explains the analogy in terms of the “big picture”

  • Sutherland has touched on many, many things throughout the course of this presentation.  Now, in the last five minutes, he is condensing his previous mass of concepts, theories, explanations, examples, studies and exercises into a single analogy made by Dr. Ludwig von Mises.  The analogy is very effective, especially at this point in the presentation because it makes use of everything Sutherland has addressed thus far.  We have seen how psychological solutions to a variety of everyday problems can impact certain situations.  We have seen how perception is vital to the condition of society.  Now, we are seeing all of these elements come together in this specific analogy.  Sutherland is using his previously established credibility to launch us into further thought.  He ends this talk by opening our eyes to the larger concept at work, here.  We can actively participate in this analogy because he has given us the tools to do so.  Having learned and participated, we can now take action, whether literally or mentally, and that was Sutherland’s main objective.

Society has established rules and ideologies based on pure logic and straightforward strategies.  If we applied the principles of Psychology to Economics and Technology, we could radically alter the way we perceive situations and ultimately solve problems more effectively.  Perception can be applied to a variety of social, economical and technological issues in order to increase their efficiency, accuracy and structure.

Rory Sutherland uses a plethora of smaller concepts, explanations and examples to establish a foundation for his overarching discussion of perception.  By building upon easily digestable blocks of information, the audience is able to gather and understand more readily the concepts presented.

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The Future of Presentations: Tupac’s Hologram

17 Apr

Tupic is alive…via hologram at least.

On Monday, the world was abuzz with the recent videos of the infamous deceased rapper, Tupac Shakur, performing on stage at the 2012 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Annual Festival alongside Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg.

 

 

The seemingly 3-D rendering of Shakur was created by the special effects company Digital Domain (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, “Titanic”), while AV Concepts installed the plate of glass and the lighting that brought the hologram to life. “Although the perception was of a 3D likeness of Shakur, the image was actually a 2D image. Shakur’s likeness was projected onto an angled piece of glass on ground, which in turn projected the image onto a Mylar screen on stage.” (CBS News) This unique approach to concerts is only the beginning, according to Dr. Dre.

So, is this the future of presentations?  Am I going to be showing holograms of my old PowerPoint slides?  Am I going to be giving presentations as a hologram myself, perhaps?

I wouldn’t go that far just yet.

This was a $400,000 project and took months of preparation and planning.  However, I would say that the future of presentations is a bright, digital one.  We are in the midst of a technological shift from smart phones and tablets into motion sensors and 3-D images.  The world is becoming more tangible. People want to feel and experience the media.  They want to be a part of it.

Now, just because there is a significant change in the way we receive our information doesn’t change the need for style and personality in the message.  People want to be spoken to and with, not preached at.  More and more, people crave to be catered to and thought about and cared for.  Technology is speeding things up, but the message can’t be dumbed down for the sake of this speed. We will continue to enjoy and embrace new technology.  We will remain dazzled at the new inventions and sleek gadgets that come our way, but we will never lose the desire to be heard and to share experiences with other people.  It won’t be all robots and screens.  It will all come back to the emotional connection that users experience and enjoy.   It won’t be about flashing cold bits of information to people, but about having a conversation and getting responses.

 

 

So, as you watch that new Prometheus trailer or see Tupac on his virtual tour, keep in mind that these are all simply methods to interact with an audience.  They are new channels with which we can engage our audiences, but they are not replacements for clear communication.  They are not alternatives, but supplements.

Remember to engage your audience, even while using the latest and greatest gadgets.

What do you think? Is this the beginning of a technological revolution or just an anomaly in the midst of our current technology?

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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