Ken Yeung

I planned on writing an article briefing the F8 Conference, Facebook gathering for developers. I wanted the article about the way that Facebook is going to influence the world, about the Internet access facilitation for poor countries and about the fake altruistic motivation. But after spending last evening, night and this morning actually watching the presentation I realized, that what draws my attention is not the content, but the way the content is presented. Because Facebook did just amazing job to keep your attention focused and to keep you entertained during both almost two hour long performances.

So allow me please to give you, instead of a brief summary of the newest Facebook achievements, a not-so-brief act of appreciation of how Facebook makes an incredibly good job in drawing your attention to something, that is not in the end that enormously interesting, keeping it, making you laugh and feel the personal bond with the presenter, and in the end, making you excited and impressed with their ideas.

Give examples

Everything, literally every thesis, has to be supported with an example. And now, the main challenge is to make sure those examples will not get boring. If you can show how your product works, for example the Virtual Reality equipment – do it! You will create a feeling of personal engagement. If you can’t, try to find the examples that would be remembered. Use contrast, for example aligning caption of a romantic sunset with caption of President. You can even go for so sponsors placement – in the end, it is quite funny when your technology allows for an order of flowers from a company called ‘1-800 Flowers’ … without making the actual call.

Provide personal touch

When you tell how personal lives can be affected, it seems legit to exemplify with your own. Telling about recording important moments in life? A video of you kid doing his first steps will be perfect. Everybody knows your kid from Facebook posts anyway, Mark!

Talking about translation option to fight the language barriers? It would help if you have international family or friends. And basing on examples of messages would be much more powerful if those were your own, actual messages, not some made-up exchange of information between made-up individuals.

Tangible visuals are powerful visuals

What a better way to show how light your designer plane is if not by carrying a huge pipe taken out of it into the stage with your one hand? How to better make people try you VR devices if not by giving them ones as a present? And how to boast more efficiently with your new 360 camera if not by showing everybody how shiny and hip it looks on stage? Oh, you are trying to show how you make online shopping with the new messenger artificial intelligence bots? Wear the shoes you are virtually buying on yourself on stage. It will make the experience more down to Earth.

Try to keep emotions real

All those three points about examples have one and the same aim – to keep the public engaged, to make them feel like you know what you are doing and that you really believe in what you are saying. And an intimidated engineer who constructed the prototype and, probably, has been on a stage maybe once in his life, is the essence of authentic emotions.

Be Casual

Hey Mark! I mean, Mr Zuckerberg, but nobody would dare to be that official. Be casual. Wear sneakers, t-shirts and jeans. Call each other by the given name when you switch from one speaker to the other. We are young, hip and inventive. Show it!

The whole thing, despite the complicated structure, was extremely tidy, logical, and consistent. Switches between orators were fluent, graphic layout was neat and uniform. The public was obviously chosen to know, what is going on, and to be into the ideas presented, those were not random passers-by. Even though, it takes some effort to make the public so reactive to every single detail you incorporate in your speech, the smallest joke, the slightest intonation of your voice. My private favourite of the whole presentation was the way the outsourcing of Facebook’s designs was highlighted, by repeating the phrase: ‘This gonna be available NOW, when I get off this stage.’ And I believe we can use not only their amazing, innovative designs. Their stunning performance is available to watch NOW, when I write this text too. And I believe both of those things can be extremely useful to learn from.

 

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