REM remind me that good presentation improves good content

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hidden_shine/

This time last year I had never been to a stadium. In the last two months I have been to three. Shea and Wembley for sport, and Twickenham for music.

Each experience has been very different. At Shea, I was the tourist absorbing myself into a strange, foreign game. At Wembley I was the grateful recipient of corporate hospitality. And at Twickenham I was finally seeing a band who I had been listening to for over 15 years.

Three very different days but with a common observation. Stadiums can put on a show. I was fortunate that all three events were of a high quality, but my enjoyment was amplified by the overall experience.

REM’s stage show was fantastic. I had an excellent view reasonably close to the stage. Yet I was continually drawn to the seven screens and the assortment of directorial flourishes (filter effects, quick cuts and so forth) executed in time with the songs. The concept was similar to that of the Radiohead shows at Victoria Park, but the level of accomplishment was on another plane.

Jim Stogdill had a similar experience with the Nine Inch Nails show.

This brought home to me that while content is key (and REM were on form), the way that content is presented can make or break. If the initial iterations of the iPod had featured the functions but not the form (I concede that these aren’t necessarily separable), would it have been as successful? Arguably not.

Moving from visual to verbal presentation, Albert Mehrabian posited that only 7% of someone’s attitude towards a speaker is derived from what they actually say. Non-verbal cues (tone of voice and face) account for the remaining 93%

Which of these look the most exciting?

Vista - The Wow Starts Now

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mathoov/

My point in this slightly rambling post is that presentation shouldn’t be overlooked. It is a crucial driver of success. People such as David Taylor rightly point out that presentation is nothing without a decent product underpinning it (I certainly wouldn’t be waxing lyrical about REM’s stage show if the musical performance was terrible). But good content can flounder unless it is delivered in a clear and compelling manner.

At the moment, I am creating a large presentation and this lesson is something I am trying to keep at the forefront of my mind. I wouldn’t even refer to myself as Larusso in relation to Garr Reynolds‘ Miyagi, but through his excellent website and liberal use of Flickr, Inmagine and the Stock Xchng, I believe I am getting somewhere.

sk

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