I have a bit of advice for any presentation professionals out there who might be listening. It could help you explain to a client, or potential client, why you are so vitally important–or, maybe reinforce your career decision. The next time you face a skeptic who is not sure you are worth the money, or is not resonating to your brilliant ideas, tell them to consider the complexity paradox.
When they say they’ve never heard of it, which they will because they haven’t, explain to them that the complexity paradox is one of the defining attributes of our modern world. Go ahead, lay it on thick. Tell them that it is a phenomenon well-understood by few and poorly addressed by most. They should be hooked by now, so lean back in your chair, look professorial, and say, “Increasing complexity demands increasing simplicity.”
Before they have time to respond with “ah”, “oh” or “hunh?” expand your explanation by telling them that the more complex a system becomes, the simpler the processes for understanding it must be. If they still aren’t with you, whip out a few pithy examples. Explain how we frequently use metaphors to reduce the difficult complexity of one thing by directly comparing it to the familiar simplicity of another. All the world’s a stage. Love is a flower. War is Hell. There goes the ballgame.
Point out how in the hands of a professional simple images can convey complex messages with vivid clarity. That is what charts, graphs and diagrams do when they are well designed. Remind them that physicists and engineers routinely reduce vastly complex equations into simple animations in order to grasp what is happening. The greater the complexity, the simpler the visualization required. You might also explain how psychologists and biologists are trained to identify simple patterns in order to understand complex behaviors. The list goes on. By now they should have the point.
Close the deal with the statement that you are in the business of addressing the complexity paradox. You make the complex simple so that your clients and their audiences understand faster, make better decisions and take more effective actions.
And be aware the real value of citing the complexity paradox is not that it will make you sound erudite or even that it might get you that job. The real value lies in the fact that the world is getting more complex by the nanosecond, and for presentation pros that reality translates into job security.
Posted by Robert L. Lindstrom at 8:03 PM .
From “Top Ten Truths About the Digital Ecosystem“, a recent post on the Dealing with Darwin blog:
“10. Images are king. Verbal content, by virtue of its sheer volume, is increasingly perceived as noise. We are entering a new era of collage, where the mind of the viewer is the assembling artist. Verbalization happens post facto, the residue of headline skimming and subconscious synthesis. The esthetics of digitally enhanced images will become increasingly powerful as a vehicle for cutting through the clutter. Manipulating semantics or semiotics via images will become increasingly sophisticated, both in the private and public sectors. High-definition displays and portable form factors will be popular mass markets. Indexing and searching images, on the other hand, while technologically interesting, will be of peripheral impact.”
Posted by Lee Potts at 8:00 AM .
“Change the form of information, or its quantity, or speed, or direction, or accessibility, and some monopoly will be broken, some ideology threatened, some pattern of authority will find itself without a foundation. We might say that the most potent revolutionaries are those people who invent new media of communication, although typically they are not aware of what they are doing.”
~Neil Postman, Teaching as a Conserving Activity
Posted by Lee Potts at 11:40 AM .
“All pictures are unnatural.”
~David Bailey (Commercial Photographer)
Posted by Lee Potts at 1:09 PM .
7 Comments »
“Technology is a tool…. it’s not your job.”
-Jaron Rothkop , Industrial Designer, Lear Corp.
Posted by Robert Befus at 12:42 PM .
1 Comment »
“Condense some daily experience into a glowing symbol, and an audience is electrified.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882)
Posted by Lee Potts at 9:56 PM .
1 Comment »
“Presentations are as much about slides as poetry is about handwriting.”
~Doc Searls in his 1998 classic “It’s the Story, Stupid: Don’t Let Presentation Software Keep You From Getting Your Story Across”.
Posted by Lee Potts at 10:32 PM .
“The power of illustrative anecdotes often lies not in how well they present reality, but in how well they reflect the core beliefs of their audience.”
~David P. Mikkelson, creator of Snopes.com
Posted by Lee Potts at 9:31 AM .
Quote from The CreativeForum.com Website which is a very good description of what I do; be it content or design or both… so am I a graphic designer, a presentation professional, a graphic technician, are we one in the same or are Graphic Designers et.al. sub-sets of Presentation Professionals? In my past life I was a Visual Communication Designer, presently I’m a Graphic Tech; yet I do the same thing! How do you define your role in the Presentations Industry?
Here’s the quote, you should check out their posts and site…
“From my point-of-view, graphic design, in its basic form, it the blending of words, images, color, tone, line, etc. to communicate a message. Beyond this is the ability of the design to reach the audience on an emotional level that generates a response. That response can be to purchase a product, learn something, make a donation, change their viewpoint, or other actions.
I don’t believe graphic design is art, although they share some common characteristics. I see art as the personal expression of the artist’s ideas and emotions. Graphic design, on the other hand, is the expression and communication of the client’s ideas. Designers put a lot of themselves into their work – their style and experience – but the goal should be the memorable communication of the client’s message.
Before we were graphic designers, we were called commercial artists. It’s ironic, but the Master of Fine Art like DaVinci and Michaelangelo were the commercial artists of their day. Their Patrons dictated much of the work – their message, not necessarily the artist’s. So, who knows, maybe some of you will be the Masters of Fine Art in the future. But, for today we still need to meet the project goals, within budget, on schedule and generate some results for our Patrons.”
Posted by Mary Waldera at 10:36 PM .
“Make sure you have finished speaking before your audience has finished listening.”
Posted by Lee Potts at 12:44 PM .