The one presentation slide to keep you on the edge of your seat

This morning I popped over to the John L. Tishman Auditorium at The New School on New York’s 5th Avenue.

It was another edition of the immensely popular Creative Mornings lecture series, and this month’s guest speaker was the founder of Charity:Water, Scott Harrison.

First was a slice of delicious irony – the seating in the design school’s auditorium has been designed so that no one in excess of 6’2” can fit in the seats. I had to find a spot at the end of a row and crumple my extensive lower limbs at a 45-degree angle into the aisle (it has been noted I have exceptionally long femurs). I was undoubtedly a picture of style and poise, bringing back fond memories of an early morning Ryanair flight from Croatia following a festival with no sleep.

After I took a deep breath to vanquish that hideous experience and also accept the prospect of an imminent visit to the local physio, it was time for the main event.

There were a bunch of interesting takeaways (I’ll be collating these into another post), but here’s one that particularly grabbed me.

It came into play just after the bittersweet crash from Harrison’s hedonistic lifestyle as a New York nightclub promoter.

It was nothing

Pitch black.

The blank slide.

There was no need to use images to make the segue; to take us from the nadir to the redemption.

The black screen did its work as the storyteller carefully took us to where we needed to go next.

Our focus sharpened on the words, on the person, and on the nothing. It was the time to take stock, take a breath, hold it – until it was the moment for the visual story to begin unfolding again.

This masterful storyteller’s time on stage featured plenty of vivid imagery, design, colour, passion, and tales of failure, success and reaching above and beyond.

But the real hook came in the nothingness.

1 Comment

  1. Sam Utne March 1, 2019 at 8:41 pm

    I was there this am too and found myself completely struck by the same slide! I made a mental note to include that in future presentations. Thank you for catching that and reminding me how powerful it was! I’m excited for your CM FieldTrip! About to email you.

    Reply

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