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Jun 2, 2023Liked by Benn Stancil

This was the most fluid newsletter I read so far, the writing is immaculate

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Thanks! If only I could practice what I preach, and the talks were at all similar...

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Jun 2, 2023Liked by Benn Stancil

@benn - do you think this advice of rapid movement through a presentation (I know you said "rapid in slides, moderate in speech" but still "rapid" in some sort of conceptual/cognitive processing way) still holds true if you think there are significant secondary language speaker issues and also potential major cultural gaps/differences in a large proportion of the audience? Even your point about "everybody knows the Boromir joke" hasn't actually been true in a fair number of cases where I've presented.

My gut feeling is that it wouldn't necessarily - the secondary language speakers are often struggling to even understand very standard English when I'm being very intentional about avoiding idiom, American/pop media cultural references, and irony/sarcasm. Humor and irony are the two most difficult things to understand in another language. It feels like what you're talking about here is "If I were presenting at Coalesce with my peers and an audience that I can be relatively confident about having native, or at least strong fluency in the language along with a common sense of humor and cultural idiom in general." For that scenario I would agree with you but what is the ratio for you presenting to that kind of audience versus the kind I described in my first paragraph?

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No, definitely not. You certainly have to adjust to the audience, be it a lot of english as a second language people, people who have absolutely no familiarity with the subject, cultural/generational differences, accessibility differences, etc.

But to be honest about it, I have a hard time making those adjustments. This style works for me, and if it's not the right style for the audience, I'm probably not the right person to talk to them. My slow and deliberate presentations are really bad; I'm a terrible teacher; I really struggle to explain anything to anyone like their five. If someone wants a talk that is good at those things, I ain't the person for the job.

Case in point, this blog. 99.99% of the world would hate it, but a handful of people don't. I'd rather write it for them, and have a few people like it and accept that most people don't than do a bad job of writing for the latter group and make something nobody likes. I think presentations are mostly the same thing. Deviate too much from what comes naturally to you, and it'll be a waste of time for everyone.

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Jun 2, 2023Liked by Benn Stancil

Giving a talk is almost like standup comedy. You've got to decide if and how you're going to work the crowd, you've got to figure out your delivery style, and you've got to practice it b/c it's a performance, not just off the cuff stuff.

I found Toastmasters to be useful mainly for forcing myself to get the reps in on public speaking. They have you go through different styles and topics to try out what works for you. I do recommend it, but I don't recommend it past a year or two :)

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That's probably a good point about practice (and to some extent, coaching): Reps help a lot, especially "exploratory" ones where you can try different things. But once something clicks, I think most people are better off just going with it than seeking out much more stylistic advice (with that caveats that small corrections about bad tics are still good, and if you're gonna like, go be an actor, yes, get coaching. But if you just occasionally give talks, I'd argue that eight hours of coaching over the course of a year makes you worse.)

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Jun 2, 2023Liked by Benn Stancil

11/10 post -- content, word choice, tone, everything. Epic!

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Thanks!

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Jun 2, 2023Liked by Benn Stancil

Yet another great article by Benn. And not just talking the talk, it literally walks the walk.

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Too long, somewhat frenzied, and completely ignorant of well established scholarship about what people actually like?

welcome to benn dot substack dot com

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Excellent advice, Benn! Could I get this as a deck?

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great template! the transition from slide 1 to 2 is πŸ’―

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The key is to do it in the middle of pretending to struggle with your lapel mic, so nobody knows it's coming.

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Jun 5, 2023Liked by Benn Stancil

A great article Benn. I am a great admirer of Sir Ken Robinson's TED talks..not a single slide or visual, still the way he delivers the talk and the kind of engagement he could create, it's quite amazing. You might be already aware of his talks, if not, here is the link ( out of 3, this is the most popular one): https://www.ted.com/talks/sir_ken_robinson_do_schools_kill_creativity/c

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This is basically just standup

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Jun 3, 2023Liked by Benn Stancil

Ah! So is that where you got the idea of having a second (non-visual) narrative of inside jokes in the footnotes?

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Was going to point this out as well!

Also going to point out that building two parallel narratives makes writing the talk twice as much work -- one reason it’s twice as impressive if someone pulls it off.

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Subconsciously, maybe? I definitely started mimicking this presentation style after I saw it, and the writing style probably has some carryover from that (or, maybe more likely, whatever makes me comfortable with that presentation style is probably the same thing that makes me comfortable with the writing style). But to be honest, I hadn't really put a coherent theory behind all of it until writing this post. Up until the point, I had just stolen it, without paying that much attention to what I actually stole.

And on the two parallel narratives, I think that's kinda true. It definitely takes a bit more time, because when you say "global phenomenon," you can't just google image search that and put the first picture that comes up; you have to think of a picture that _evokes_ it more indirectly, or does so in a way that has some connection to the rest of talk.

But it's not as hard as it sounds, because as you do it, the sub-narrative often emerges naturally. Eg, if you use an Eras Tour picture to illustrate "global phenomenon," you probably default to thinking about how you can illustrate the next point with another Taylor Swift reference. So the subplot often gets built organically like this, off of one catalyzing reference that has a lot of flexible offshoots.

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Jun 2, 2023Liked by Benn Stancil

As someone presenting on Tuesday, this is incredibly timely and great advice!

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Thanks, and good luck on the talk!

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