As I was searching through TED.org I came across a recent “talk” by Caleb Chung, a well-known inventor of interactive children’s toys such as the Furby. Recently, he launched a robot named Pleo that is an functioning, walking, responding, trainable dinosaur. As if this man’s career is not interesting enough, his means of presenting his toys, career and the release of Pleo are even more engaging. Chung does a great job of keeping the audience interested while presenting his information in a professional manner with a casual tone.
I think the key factor that separates Chung’s presentation from other less-interesting ones are the use of a variety of visual aids. He incorporates numerous video clips which greatly enhance his presentation. He uses drawings and sketches to help paint a picture for the audience as well as using still pictures. He uses very simple text such as “art and science.” This single slide says a lot about his work but does not even come close to telling the story. As we have been learning in class, it is imperative that the speaker tell the story, not the text in the slides. The two simple words, “art” and “science” emphasize what he is talking about but leave the details and elaboration to the rhetoric. The last visual aid that Chung uses is the actual robot, Pleo. Naturally, it makes sense that he would incorporate his newest invention into the talk, however from an audience member persepctive the use of yet another type of visual stimulant keeps me interested.
A lot of times presentations will be made in the typical cookie-cutter PowerPoint format and are dull and predictable. Chung does a great job of incorporating a variety of media and visual aids that are anything but dull. I think that it is the presenter’s job to keep the audience engaged and prepare a presentation that is interesting and stimulating visually, even if the information is not neccessarily interesting to everyone.
Lastly, although Chung presents professional material in a professional manner, he is very calm and casual in his speech. Being relaxed, speaking slowly and being comfortable in front of a large audience truly distinguishes a veteran from an amateur presenter.