Mona Moisala is a Brain Researcher with a passion for Public Speaking. She is now working at the University of Helsinki as a doctoral candidate specializing in cognitive neuroscience. In her most recent research she has been focusing on how the brain deals with information overload, and what happens in the brain when, for example, people are trying to multitask. She believes that presenters can benefit a great deal from understanding how the brain absorbs and processes information.
How to create brain-friendly presentations
The brain has a lot of hardwired limitations, but we can learn to work with them. You can use them to your advantage to be a more effective communicator and to create brain-friendly presentations. There is a “filter” at the beginning of brain processing that just lets in a bit of information at a time.
What should be done is to narrow down your topic to a few key points. Make them as clear as possible and get rid of all excess.
Our memory, our ability to remember things is also limited. No matter how great a speaker was, we’ll only remember a few items the next day.
Is multitasking an asset?
Even though multitasking is considered an asset in professional contexts, it might not be good for the brain. There is some research that suggests that multitasking for long hours causes the brain to get tired, people gets tired, and the brain always is in a state of stress. It might also affect people’s ability to focus on one task and to get that task done.
The same occurs in a presentation that has a lot of text, the audience is forced to multitask by both listening to the speaker and reading the text on the slides.
What the audience can do to get the most of attending a presentation
The best is to be a little bit “selfish”. Not just listen to what is being said but ask yourself: What does this mean to me? How is this is relevant to me? How is this going to help me in a concrete way?
The reason is that if you manage to integrate new information with information you already have in your memory, that’s going to create a really strong memory.
“One of the difficulties in understanding the brain is that it is like nothing so much as a lump of porridge.” — Richard L. Gregory
How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker
Routine to Shine
Practice mindfulness 20 minutes per day, with the purpose of trying to be in the present moment.
Before a public talk, take few seconds and take a deep breath. That will help you to bring you back to the moment.
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