Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Passionate Presentations

I saw a performance Friday night by “Authoring Action.” About 30 teenagers reciting, singing, dancing the words they had authored. 
I saw tears running down the cheeks of a teenage boy rapping a poem he’d written. And I was reminded, again, of the importance of passion in our presentations.   
I hope we’re in the post-post-modern era of the arts. I hated the post-modern period, probably because I didn’t fit into it well. I didn’t enjoy self-referential, cynical, let’s-have-a-laugh-at-the-past, emotionless performances. I wanted passionate performances.
Passion isn’t fully back in fashion yet, but it may be on its way. I’ve blogged about the clues I’ve been finding in, of all places, the business world. A CEO said in an interview that he’s fortunate that he loves the business he’s in, that he’s passionate about it. The author of an essay about business journalism advised writers to tell a story, rather than trying to explain the facts. She recognizes that readers will probably not remember or understand the facts, but they will remember the story that captures the meaning of the facts.  
We can’t tell a story in our presentations unless we go deeper than the words, unless we find the story we want to tell. We can’t tell a story well unless we are drawing upon our senses–our sight, our hearing, our senses of touch, smell, and taste. Our senses produce both emotion and action, not only in us, the storytellers, but in our audiences.
Here’s one of the definitions of passion in the Oxford Universal Dictionary: “In psychology or art, any mode in which the mind is affected or acted upon . . .” 
If we are presenting our ideas from our senses, our audiences can respond from, and their minds will be affected by their senses. 
 We don’t get good at giving presentations unless we are passionate about the story we’re telling. If we are passionate about our presentations, we will get good at giving them.            
Why present any idea if we are not intending to affect the minds of our audiences? Why present without passion?

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