Everything Has A Meaning
February 3, 2009

I once heard the phrase, “words mean what they do” and I really like that idea. For presenters it is a great principle, because the mental and emotional state the audience leaves in is what our presentation meant. We can have the grandest of intentions and the genius insight, but it does not count for anything if the audience was not with us. This also applies in one-on-one situations. What are the effects of our words? If our intention was to comfort did they? If it was to clarify did they? If it was to be honest in order to help was the person better off upon hearing our words?

I recently came across this i-phone application called Midomi. I don’t have an i-phone, I have a LG Chocolate (which I would like to write about another time), but my friend showed me this app. It allows someone to humm, whistle or sing a song and it will recognize it for you. It went 1 for 3 with me; recognized La Cucaracha but not the theme song to MASH (2 attempts). As we were playing with it, it occurred to me what a brilliant little app. It is so  frustrating to have a song playing in our head, we don’t know how it got there and we can’t remember the name of it. When we finally do figure it out it is such a relief, and now this app can help us with that. It means what it does, and what it does is make you feel good, takes this trivial yet visceral feeling and makes it go away. It is so insignificant except when you can turn to it in your time of need. What I loved was how this app is the feeling it gives the user and is thus meaningful and memorable. So I don’t know if the programmers were thinking about this or not when the app was developed, but regardless of what they intended Midomi mean what it does.

A big part of what we should be doing as presenters is giving something meaningful to our audience. In order to do that, we need to figure out the meaning of the presentation , the data, the product etc. We can begin by asking what does it all do?