Tom Wujec gave a short TED talk: 3 Ways the Brain Creates Meaning. His point is, “We make meaning by seeing.” Here is a summary of how the brain makes meaning with the brain subsystem activated in parentheses:
- Use images to clarify ideas. (ventral)
- Interact with images to create engagement. (dorsal)
- Augment memory with persistent and evolving views. (limbic)
Using images to create shared mental models leads to better communication, learning, thinking, problem solving, and collaboration. He uses Visual Strategic Planning as an organizational example of the idea that we are all visual developers and learners.
As I consider what this information means for organization development, I go beyond his example to considering how we run meetings, communicate information, and deliver training. How can we increase the visual component of what we do in order to increase the building of shared mental models and shared meaning?
TED is in the news with its new Global Conversation. But beyond the ideas worth spreading concept, are sound public speaking ideas. Here are the 10 commandments of TED talks:
- Dream big.
- Show us the real you.
- Make the complex plain.
- Connect with people’s emotions.
- Don’t flaunt your ego.
- No selling from the stage!
- Feel free to comment on other speakers’ talks.
- Don’t read your talk.
- End your talk on time.
- Rehearse your talk in front of a trusted friend … for timing, for clarity, for impact.
Garr Reynolds gives his version of the “TED commandments” with additional comments on preparing to speak. He offers examples of speakers who presented data heavy information, used a script, and one who stood, planted behind a podium. The point is that all of these people found a way to deliver ideas worth spreading that engaged the audience through their use of story and compelling delivery.
If you’re already a TED fan, I recommend the article in September Fast Company that was forwarded to me by a friend this week: “How TED Became the New Harvard – Only Bigger“.
As for me, I appreciate the work that has been done in the last several years to encourage improvement in the delivery of business, technical, and general presentations. I always find room for improvement whenever I reflect on my own public speaking opportunities. Re-reading the TED commandments is a good place to begin.
In the age of Facebook, Twitter, texting, and e-mail, I appreciate being reminded of the power of face-to-face communication. Here’s a quote from Chris Anderson:
There’s a lot more being transferred than just words. It is in that nonverbal portion that there’s some serious magic. Somewhere hidden in the physical gestures, the vocal cadence, the facial expressions, the eye contact, the passion, and the kind of awkward British body language, the sense of how the audience are reacting…. There are hundreds of subconscious clues that go to how well you will understand and whether you are inspired.
See his entire talk on giving presentations at TED. Then read Garr Reynold’s comments on the power of presentation.
View from the Conductor's Circle
A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.
– James Crooks
And a TED talk by a conductor: “Itay Talgam demonstrates the unique styles of six great 20th-century conductors, illustrating crucial lessons for all leaders.”
Idea for reflection – 6
If your organization is involved in giving presentations either internally or externally, it’s worth reflecting on whether your presentations are effective. Garr Reynolds posted the following link and information on his blog, Presentation Zen:
Thanks to Tim Longhurst (The TED Commandments – rules every speaker needs to know) you can see the list in an easier to read format below.
- Thou Shalt Not Simply Trot Out thy Usual Shtick.
- Thou Shalt Dream a Great Dream, or Show Forth a Wondrous New Thing, Or Share Something Thou Hast Never Shared Before.
- Thou Shalt Reveal thy Curiosity and Thy Passion.
- Thou Shalt Tell a Story.
- Thou Shalt Freely Comment on the Utterances of Other Speakers for the Sake of Blessed Connection and Exquisite Controversy.
- Thou Shalt Not Flaunt thine Ego. Be Thou Vulnerable. Speak of thy Failure as well as thy Success.
- Thou Shalt Not Sell from the Stage: Neither thy Company, thy Goods, thy Writings, nor thy Desperate need for Funding; Lest Thou be Cast Aside into Outer Darkness.
- Thou Shalt Remember all the while: Laughter is Good.
- Thou Shalt Not Read thy Speech.
- Thou Shalt Not Steal the Time of Them that Follow Thee.
And if you don’t know about TED, you should! You can find inspiration by clicking here.
Idea for reflection – 2