Moved by motion pictures

Peter Presenter took the advice to avoid static pictures in his next few presentations. He tried lots of different transitions between slides. He built up a diagram in stages between five different slides. He even put a few animations of clipart onto a slide, using features of PowerPoint he had never tried out before.

Peter got mixed reviews from this attempt at moving pictures. His audience did not seem especially moved by the improvement in his visuals. He realized that many of his audience members look at videos on YouTube every day. They may be expecting Peter to use his camcorder to shoot some footage that illustrates the points he is making. At the next conference, his presentation included some short videos imbedded in a few slides. The quality was not great, but no worse than most of the amateurish efforts he's seen on YouTube.

Connie attended that latest presentation and met with Peter in the afternoon after his session. She mentioned that Peter appeared to be struggling with her advice to add movement to his visuals. Connie then asked him: "What's you're assessment of videos you've seen on YouTube?" Peter went on for five minutes about how boring most of them seem, how many of the productions are lacking artistry and how most indulge one simple idea that overwork the gag to death. Connie responds: "So you were not moved by those motion pictures?"

Peter realizes that she has asked a loaded question. She's implied that he taking the idea of motion literally and creating problems for himself. She's changed the subject to the audience being moved by what they see, not their seeing something moving. Peter replies: "I not only was not moved by the motion pictures, I got the impression that the creators were stuck in dreary situations, expressing their frustrations and crying for meaningful change in their lives".

Connie pulls out a copy of Made To Stick. "Chip and Dan Heath consider stories to be flight simulators. Stories take the audience where they are going to go on their own after the presentation and walk through the experience a step at a time. The presentation is sticky because it plays with the unexpected and some tantalizing unknowns. A sticky presentation breaks the audience's guessing machine that already: assumes it already knows this, expects this to be boring and has better things to think about".

Peter realizes the few videos on YouTube that are worth watching repeatedly -- have some suspense and surprise elements. They give the impression that the video's creator is far from stuck in his or her own life. They move the audience by the movement in the story, not the motion of the camera.

Connie poses a challenge: "Is a presentation with no moving visuals guaranteed to put an audience to sleep?" Peter replies: "Only if the story the slides tell goes nowhere and the static pictures say the presenter is stuck on his ideas or at a dead end in her life."

Connie asks: "how did you get so unstuck yourself, Peter?" He replies: "It's a long story".

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