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Short essay in which I talk yet again about how important presentation is.

I am going to write about this at length when I get a minute to collect my thoughts. But, people, the ideas which were actually selling here at SxSW were the ideas which were actually SOLD.

Agreed, some ideas are so great that they won’t need to be sold. In fact, when the cure for cancer finally happens, they can probably take out a classified ad in the Tulsa Weekly-Bugle and that sucker will work. Until then, those of us with ideas less world-shaking, we will need to SELL them.

Fact is, most of the presentations I saw this week kinda sucked. The content? Indisputably great. Pretty much every presenter had something cool to say. (With one exception; someone told me how they had to walk out on a speaker who was so 1998 she was puttin’ slides up about how “Consumers can now scan bar codes with their phones!” Dude. Please.)

The big difference in the transmission of ideas? Energy. Power. Clarity. Passion.

I don’t care if you’re just on a stinkin’ panel about BANNER ADS, when you have the mike you have the attention of a room of 200 people and you are failing if you do not knock it out with passion, power, clarity and energy. Of the sessions I attended, every single speaker failed. I know, I know, they weren’t all that way. In fact, at last night’s party at GSDM, most people were talking about Gary Vaynerchuk’s speech. People were blown away by it. Blown away. Damn, I wish I’d seen it. I didn’t, but I heard about it. And you know what? Even if it turns out his speech was content I’m not really interested in, I woulda ended up interested in it because he MADE me interested in it.

So, if you agree we’re in the business of spreading ideas, or selling ideas, make it your business to learn how to speak publicly. To learn how to put on a kick-ass presentation.

Final note: I really liked these “Ogilvy Notes” things I saw here and there. I wonder if my own agency oughta do something like this? Have some of our own artists make cool big-ass drawings for those presentations¬† we have to make more than once, say about agency themes or case histories. They’re more interesting and playful and informal than a stupid Powerpoint slide.

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