I am one third of the way into Randy Olson’s Don’t Be Such a Scientist, which offers communication assistance to the scientifically inclined. This book is growing on me and has helped me identify and describe a lot of the problems I have in communication and see in my engineering coworkers. On page 69 Olson relates a quote that provides the fundamental guide for communications: “arouse and fulfull”.
I spend so much of my time communicating that I know I fall into the scientist’s trap described by Olson: I focus on fulfillment and ignore arousal. This manifests as too much detail and too little motivation. The danger here is that without properly captivating the audience their attention will not be held. With live presentations my audience is captive by etiquette but web presentations and written work free the audience to quit at any time.
How can I arouse an audience on a subject as dry as virtualization performance or enterprise applications? Only a few ideas come to me tonight:
The first time I will have an opportunity to try a radically different approach to a dry presentation will be in May in Boston at EMC World 2009.