Earlier this month I spoke at the AITD EduTech conference in Sydney on the topic of ‘Facts Tell, Stories Sell.’

Most people I speak to want to deliver an engaging presentation that is memorable and moves people to action. Stories can help you achieve this.  By triggering emotion they light up the neural pathways in our brain and become memorable. Stories make meaning of what we hear: they link one dimensional data with our three dimensional experience.

You can read a synopsis of my presentation here.

It was interesting to see how there was a common theme throughout the conference: Attention, Relevance and Recall, the essentials for leaning transfer.

We are not Goldfish

Julie Dirksen from Useable Learning delivered a keynote on the science of attention and engagement, where she neatly dispatched the myth that our attention span has shrunk to that of a goldfish. The problem she said is not about our lack of attention, but the amount of information we need to process. Our minds are exceptional at filtering out data and only keeping the gems.

So, the challenge is: How do we get something past the working memory and into the long-term memory where is can be recalled?

Dirksen suggests the way to remember is to make the information:

  • Unusual or surprising
  • Trigger an emotional reaction
  • Make it meaningful and relevant
  • Link it with previous experience
  • Include interaction
  • Repetition

This is something all good speakers and educators do and sometimes in order to make something stick, you need to get creative.

Give me a bite

The other theme that shone through was microlearning. Shannon Tipton from Learning Rebels recommends we deliver bite-sized, just-in-time information, kind of like a pop-up display encouraging us to try a new style of bread in the bakery aisle. Tipton says the best micro leaning is a ‘stand-alone’ snapshot of information and should be “As long as necessary and as short as possible.”

It’s OK to have fun (In fact we prefer it!)

The ICT department at the University of Southern Queensland was having trouble getting staff to read and act on emails about IT security.

In order to address this, they sent out a weekly video at 9am every Monday entitled “Talk Nerdy To Me” and staff engagement went through the roof!

Here’s what made it work

  • The videos were short (under two minutes)
  • They were easy and only involved one click (the image hyperlinked to the video)
  • They were fun and involved the staff in costume and occasionally using sock puppets
  • Only one topic was covered in each video. Each was a stand-alone micro learning segment
  • They were cheap to produce using software purchased for around $100

If what you are doing is not working it may be time to start something new.

Here are some resources to help:

And you may want to book into Stand Up, Speak Up & Persuade to get better at persuading, thinking on your feet and presenting with panache!

I’d love to see you there and help you develop material and deliver presentations that stick.

Sharon Ferrier
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All Good Presentations Start With a Confident Speaker

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