S2E4 – Dr. John Molidor | The Science Behind Brain-Friendly Presentations
My guest today is Dr. John Molidor, a Professor of Psychiatry and Community Assistant Dean at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine as well as a past president of the National Speakers Association Board of Directors. John shares his extensive knowledge about how to prepare a presentation that takes your audience’s brain into consideration and provides a richer learning experience, or a “brain-friendly” presentation.
John emphasizes that the job of any speaker is sharing what you know, creating a safe environment to learn, and inviting your audience into that safe environment, and we need to understand how the brain works, consumes information, and processes it to achieve those goals.
- Your cells will eavesdrop on what you’re sending your brain. So if you’re sending your brain negative information or positive information, your cells tend to pay attention to that, which then can cause a chemical reaction resulting in a cascade of chemicals, either for good or for bad. So try to keep pessimistic thoughts out of your head!
- Dr. Molidor says we don’t refer to people as left or right brain anymore. Brains are hemisphere. They have both right hemisphere and left hemisphere. There are also a lot of redundancies, meaning when one side is working the other side is also active. So if you’re speaking to just one side of the brain, “you’re wasting opportunities.” Talk to both hemispheres: Tell the story, show the emotion, give the data, give the numbers.
- Contextual cueing teaches the audience to associate a symbol with an action. Everything from your header size to image choice to font color creates a contextual cue, and you should make sure those cues are consistent and conducive for learning. When you do that, the brain can focus on what the presenter is saying because you have cued it to do so
- The brain loves stories. “The oral tradition has been part of how the brain structure, if you will, has evolved over time.” Not only that, but different parts of the story are stored in different parts of the brain. So to access that information, you’re actually going to access different parts of the brain, and in doing that, the brain actually is more activated. And when we active more of the brain, we have a higher probability of things being remembered.
- Give your audience “commercial breaks.” If you’re putting out a lot of info, you have to give the brain a break so they can process it. We’ve also taught a generation of learners that they will receive these breaks, through the way both schools and entertainment like television are structured.
- Brains love oxygen, so you need to get the audience moving or inhaling oxygen occasionally. Asking them to stand up and do jumping jacks may not make sense, but even just getting the audience to yell or shout forces them to inhale more oxygen.
- The brain looks for patterns… and it looks for patterns even when they don’t really exist, so you have to be wary of that. Similar to contextual cueing, you should consider how the patterns in your presentation can help the audience actually figure out what you’re presenting to them.
- Connect with Dr. Molidor on LinkedIn
Change Your Mindset is produced by Podcast Masters
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