A complex question

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I saw a posting for a talk on global health yesterday, so I stopped by after work. Big mistake. It was one of the most boring 2 hours I’ve spent since I arrived in Nairobi.

I thought back to Bill Gates’ comments in his Harvard Commencement address (the highlight of graduation):
http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/2007/06.14/99-gates.html

“I remember going to Davos some years back and sitting on a global health panel that was discussing ways to save millions of lives. Millions! Think of the thrill of saving just one person’s life – then multiply that by millions. … Yet this was the most boring panel I’ve ever been on – ever. So boring even I couldn’t bear it.

What made that experience especially striking was that I had just come from an event where we were introducing version 13 of some piece of software, and we had people jumping and shouting with excitement. I love getting people excited about software – but why can’t we generate even more excitement for saving lives?

You can’t get people excited unless you can help them see and feel the impact. And how you do that – is a complex question.”

How can we get better at telling these stories in ways that get people interested and engaged?

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2 Responses to “A complex question”

  1. Chris Walker Says:

    The story that Jon Yates shared on the blog a few weeks ago from Ingrid Munro at Jamii Bora (“The One-Legged Cyclist”) is a great example of a story that makes you feel the impact of helping even one person. Ingrid Munro should be invited to sit on a Davos panel!

  2. Jacques Says:

    Presentation and talks are all about telling a story that relates to the audience. ”The One-Legged Cyclist” example put forward by Chris is a good example. Such a simple, yet, powerful a story.

    “Presentation Zen” is a good blog to check for presentation tips.
    And the most moving presentation I saw is the following one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5g8cmWZOX8Q

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