3D illustration of transparent and colorful protozoa or unicellular organism

Morgan Freeman narrates a new TV series: Life on Our Planet which takes us back four billion years. The series focuses on events that accelerated evolution-- like earthquakes, meteors, and drought. It’s incredible that 99% of all species that ever existed are now extinct. The one percent that remain are those who adapted to the cataclysmic changes around them.

The communication style of humans has also changed dramatically. AP and Reuters editors direct their writers to deliver stories in five hundred words or less... The average length of shots in movies is under five seconds… And attention spans? A CBS Sunday Morning segment reported the current time to switch screens on our cell phones is only forty-seven seconds!

How can speakers adapt to this new environment? Certainly not by using densely packed PowerPoint slides. Simplify and clarify your deck. Make slides visual. Deliver one key takeaway per slide and move on. Whenever possible, make your presentations interactive, and change gears by polling your audience, and including stories.

In the virtual world, ask questions, have participants use the chat function, include break-out sessions, and conduct surveys. Speak in shorter sentences, and make your overall presentation shorter than you would in person. (Remember movie shots in under five seconds.) The world has changed, but we can use our elegant human brain to adapt and survive. Be the one percent who do.

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