Presentation Psychology Articles
People speak at around 125 words a minute but think considerably faster. When listening to a presenter, hearing the words takes a relatively small toll of the mind of an audience member, leaving them plenty of cognitive capacity to think about other stuff. Depending on what they do or are thinking about will determine how much of the information they will recall later.
As a presenter, your job is to do everything possible to ensure that they don’t drift to grocery lists, carpool schedules and other work tasks – one of our greatest challenges. Continue reading →
I was recently in New York City, and ended up watching a performance at the Jazz Standard. Jazz audiences always seem eclectic to me. If you go to a Country and Western gig, the audience tend to be uniform, in fact they mostly wear a uniform – involving denim, boots and fantastic belt buckles. Last year at a Springsteen concert, the common passion was tailgating and BBQ in the parking lot, indicating that music is just one of the interests they all share. Point being that as a performer, you have the right to expect an audience that chooses to come because they fit a mold, they like jazz, blues or barbeque.
Do you recall the scene from the Blues Brothers movie where they inadvertently find themselves booked into a country western club? That’s what happens when the audience come expecting one thing and get another.. they throw bottles at you.
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It’s only a joke!
I am in the UK this week, and the papers today are rife with the story of Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand’s antics on national radio, making obscene prank calls to a 78 year old actor.
Apparently the BBC received 2 complaints on the day, but thanks to the wonder of podcasting they have now received 10,000 complaints, including from the British Prime Minister. Admittedly some of this is the typical British reaction to Ross’s Salary ($10 million a year), but it’s also quite clear that the calls were not seen as funny by a lot of people.
Despite the fact that Ross and Brand are entertainers and not business presenters there are, I think, some lessons to be learned about comedy in presentations:
- Jokes can backfire
- What I find funny you may not
- There is always a butt to every joke
- Podcasting compounds our errors, think before you speak and think carefully before you cast!
Presenters use humour to “break the ice” and warm up the audience. I tend to do this myself, particularly when delivering training courses, but you need to judge humour carefully, and be very sensitive to the audience. As Ross and Brand would probably agree, humour is a double edged sword.