How to Speak

Table of Contents

Preface #

This article is a collection of my notes and thoughts from the very amazing lecture by Patrick Winston

Success #

Success in life will be determined largely by your ability to

Quality of Communication #

Can be determined by this mathematical formula:

$$ \Huge{Q}_{\tiny{UALITY}} = \Huge{f}(\huge{K}, \large{P}, \tiny{T}\Huge) $$


How to Start #

Don’t start with a Joke. People are settling in, they’re not ready for a Joke.

Best way to start is with an Empowerment Promise

Empowerment Promise: #

Tell people what they’re going to know at the end of the hour, in the beginning of the hour.

Patrick Winston

Heuristics #

Heuristics are techniques / ideas to always keep in mind when giving a talk to be more effective

  1. Cycle on the Subject: Make your idea repeated many times in order to be completely clear for everyone. At any given moment roughly ~20% people in the audience are fogged out, so to improve the probability of getting through to most people, it’s good to keep coming back to the subject.
  2. Build a Fence around your idea: To distinguish it from someone else’s idea.
  3. Verbal Punctuation: Sum up information within your talk some times to make listeners get back on track.
  4. Ask a Question from time to time. Question has to be carefully chosen, it can’t be too obvious because people will be too embarrassed to say what the answer is and it can’t be too hard because nobody will have anything to say.

Tools #

Time & Place #

Boards, Props & Slides #

For teaching / informing it’s better to use boards (black / white). For professional talks you use slides for exposing ideas.

Empathetic Mirroring:

Mirroring is the behavior in which one person unconsciously imitates the gesture, speech pattern, or action of another.

The concept where the audience’s brains are capable of mirroring what they see and so can actually feel the effects of what they’re seeing / reading and hence it’s very effective.

Boards #

Patrick speaks about watching Seymour Papert give a lecture which he attended twice, once for the content and the second time to note the style. What he noticed was that Papert was constantly pointing at the board. He also noted that none of the stuff he was pointing to had anything to do with what he was saying. Nevertheless, it was a very effective technique

Patrick Winston

Props #

Use them to make your ideas more visual. Helps drill the point across in a much more memorable and comprehensible way. Very effective in exploiting the empathetic mirroring concept

Slides #

Slides are for exposing ideas not teaching ideas.

Patrick Winston

Basic Crimes :

Important Rules :

Informing #

Start with a Promise #

During the promise phase, you can also express how cool something is

Example: #

Program to put colors to bordering states of US without any two adjacent states sharing the same colors

Program 1: takes forever

Program 2: takes a few seconds because of an optimization

Inspiration #

Exhibit Passion about what you’re doing / talking about

How to Think #

We are story telling animals. We start with fairy tales as young children and we continue doing that our entire lives.

To teach how to think we:

Persuading #

Professional Talks #

One should demonstrate:

Getting Famous #

You need to think about how you’re going to be recognized for what you do

Why ? #

Anecdote: #

Julia Child on being asked: “Is it fun to be famous?”, replied: “You get used to it”

NOTE: You don’t get used to being ignored

Patrick Winston

Ideas are like children, you don’t want them to go out in the world in rags. Be sure that you have techniques, mechanisms and thoughts about how to present ideas that you have so that they are recognized for the value in them

Patrick Winston

How ? #

How to ensure your work / ideas are recognized. Your ideas should have these 5 properties:

                  Associated with your ideas
                             /  \
    STORY          _________/____\_________      SLOGAN
How you did it?    '-.     /      \     ,-'  A phrase that describes
How it works?         '-, /        \ ,-'     your ideas
Why it's important?      /-.      ,-\
                        /   '-,.-'   \
                       /    ,-''-.    \
                      /  ,-'      '-.  \
                     /,-'            '-.\
                  SALIENT            SURPRISE
              An idea that     A Common fallacy that is no longer true,
               sticks out      for instance, just after you've told it
  1. A Symbol that associates with your ideas. Visual perception is the best way to attract attention.
  2. A Slogan: Something that describes your ideas
  3. A Surprise: Common fallacy that is no longer true, for instance, just after you’ve told about it.
  4. A Salient: An idea not necessarily important, but one that sticks out
  5. A Story: How you did it, how it works, why it’s important

How to End #

Final Slide #

Final Words #

It’s been great fun being here. It’s been fascinating to see what work you are doing here. I have been much stimulated and provoked by the kinds of questions you have asked. It’s been really great and I look forward to coming back in the future.

Patrick Winston
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