If There’s a Done Thing, Don’t Do It

I caught twenty minutes of the BAFTA’s on BBC1, last week, and took a particular interest in the acceptance speeches. Which weren’t very interesting. Even though the award ceremonies date back to Cecil B. DeMille, the whole thing struck me as really strange. The first winner – best adapted screenplay, I think – said he …

‘Alternative Facts’ – Words Are More Important Than You Think

I guess I had to talk about him at some point. Everyone else is. And when it comes to ‘awful’ presentations, or ‘awful’ presenters at least, they don’t come much more awful than Donald Trump. The particular item that drew my attention, though, was president Trump’s counsellor, Kellyanne Conway, inadvertently coining the term ‘alternative facts’ …

The Curious Incident of the Ping-Pong Ball and the Hairdryer

Have you seen the levitating ping-pong ball on hairdryer trick? It’s not actually a trick, it’s called the Bernoulli effect and is the phenomenon that causes airplanes to lift off the ground and prevents racing cars from doing the same thing. I heard this at a student presentation, recently, where there were pictures of airplanes …

Presentation Without Words

Here is a video of a 4-minute presentation I gave, without words. Sound daft? Well, I was making the point that writing text on slides and then reading it out is crazy, and yet most people do this. The obvious fix is to remove the text and let the presenter speak. But there is another approach: keep the …

Rocket Science for Farmers – Communication is About Making Connections

Irish entrepreneur of the year, 2012, Edmond Harty keeps an eye on the latest technologies across all fields and asks the question: ‘Can I apply this to dairy farming?’ Often he can. Edmond had the idea for one of his company’s most successful products, the Moomonitor, on a flight to Canada after reading an article about …

Not So Awful, Not So Common – A Politician Who Can Communicate

After the financial crash, everyone in Ireland is now an expert in economics. Except that nobody is. Phrases like ‘bailout’, ‘Troika’ and ‘burn the bondholders’ have been bandied about but I’m not sure how many people actually understand them. Stephen Donnelly does. Recently elected independent politician in the Irish parliament, Stephen told me, in a …

Urgency and Complacency

52 minutes, 31 slides, some with up to 15 bullet-points, many with 4-5 thumbnail pictures or graphs. OK, so we’ve all sat through a good few of these, but what galled me about this particular presentation was the slide titled, ‘Typical questions AAA Software (not actual name) can help get you an answer for.’ There …

Discriminating Between Apples & Bananas

I got an email last week inviting me to the following talk: ‘Topology Optimization using Barycentric Discretization: Theory and Applications’ I didn’t go. A few weeks earlier, I was asked to: ‘Endogenous Correlated Network Dynamics’ …but I was busy that week, also. And then there was: ‘Group III Nitride Semiconductor Nanostructures for Photonic and Quantum …