Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Creativity in Presentations - courtesy of Brainshark and Joe Sabia


I attended the Brainshark Content Quest city tour in Manhattan last month.  Our host was Joan Lubinsky, VP of marketing for Brainshark, "a cloud-based platform for sales enablement."


The keynote p
resentation was: Getting Creative, from Joe Sabiaa video creator, consultant, and speaker on creativity - having given a TED talk on storytelling.

Joan started off with a brief discussion of the need of marketers for content.  She mentioned the "content gap" that marketers are trying to fill as they are required to provide more content than in the past. As I understood it, Brainshark helps marketers manage and present their content and tries to make the process less painful.  Joan cited the CMO Council as saying that 40% of salespeoples' time is spent searching and creating customer-facing deliverables.  Next, they need to present their content to engage with their customers, and then advance the sales process, with which Brainshark can also help, through content distribution analytics and other tools.  The Brainshark customers who were in attendance seemed happy with the product, and there was a testimonial from one of their customers.

Getting Creative

Joe Sabia started his presentation by raising the 2 questions he felt any presenter must ask:

- how do you present information in a way people will learn?
- how do you present information in a way people will pay attention?

With regard to learning, he felt that there was no need to think too much about the first question since:

- you are the expert on the material
- you know your audience
- you know how to present the key material with brevity, clarity, style, and in the relevant aesthetic

The principles of presentation, however, he characterized as:

1. Dessert and vegetables
- Joe cited what he called the "Huffington Post mullet approach to news" - business in the front, fun in the back - as an organizing principle
- "dessert" defined as: a moment of escapism, makes vegetables more memorable
- he pointed out that dessert does not need to be confined to a fixed place in the presentation: dessert could be provided early, in the middle or at the end.
- the key factor: find a balance between the dessert and the vegetables

2. Cultural references, for example, could serve as dessert because they:
- analogize information, making easier for the audience to grasp and more memorable after the presentation
- provide baked-in familiarity, hopefully not requiring much explanation
- bring people together - between the presenter and the audience and among the audience

3. Interactivity is important
- passive isn't as good as active
- user is energized, feels a part of the process
- this is our experience, not just mine or yours - again bringing people together

4. Joe suggested "using your space as a playground" - what does that mean?
- example: Skittles YouTube video: Touch The Rainbow
 - interactivity on steroids
- based on seeing familiar things from a different angle

- Note: when I checked, I was surprised that the video has ONLY 98,000 views with only 381 Likes - is it not funny? is it not worth sharing?

5. Unscientific research - DIY
- merges "the familiar" with your product
- offers convincing, offbeat evidence
- shows you're passionate enough to do some ground reporting

6. Power of surprises (more acceptable concept than fun at work)
- surprise industries
- surprises = engagement - surprises generate emotion and attention
- Creative Commons and Wikimedia Commons as potential sources of material

the Wikimedia Coimmons Picture of the Day - April 11, 2013:
Blue wildebeest fighting for dominance in Etosha National Park

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