Energy Efficiency and Energy Intensity

Energy efficiency or efficient energy usage is a goal, aiming to reduce energy consumption by adopting new technology/means. For example, using LED bulbs instead of CFLs for lighting purpose reduces both energy consumption and the cost. Energy efficiency is an important means to handle growing energy demands or for sustainable energy.

Energy Intensity is a quantitative metric for nation’s energy efficiency.  For a country, it is calculated as the ratio of the total energy units consumed and the total units of GDP over a calendar year. The lower its value, the better is the energy efficiency. A higher value of energy intensity means more money is being spent on energy to convert it into nation’s GDP, which is bad.

Better Presentations – II

In this post, I will write about the TED talk by Mr. Richard Greene, author of the book, “The Words that Shook the World: 100 Years of Unforgettable Speeches and Events”.  In the talk, “The 7 secrets of the greatest speakers in history“, Richard first explains seven ingredients of a great talk, and then he shows video snippets of few great speakers including Loe Gehring, Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, among others. Here, I will re-phrase only the seven ingredients of his talk in five bullet points

  1. Words, Voice tone, and Body language: Richard’s experience/research shows that words, voice tone, and body language affect 7%, 38% and 55% of the audiences respectively. This means that uttering correct words/speech and neither having a variation (fast/slow according to condition) in voice tone nor using body language (looking, moving) will attract only 7% of the audience and the remaining will feel lost. Therefore to remain connected with the audience during the entire presentation, the presenter should ensure all three in appropriate proportions.
  2. Compelling Message: Ensure that your presentation has only one idea and try to plant the same idea in the audience.
  3. Only Conversation: Richard explains the difference between performance, presentation, and conversation. He further points out that a speaker often thinks his “talk” as a performance or a presentation. Thinking talk as “performance” is absurd because performance relates to acting and the talk is not acting, thinking talk as a “presentation” is not fully true because then you only think of the audience and not of yourself. Instead, talk is “conversation”. In the words of Richard, “Talk/public speaking is nothing but a conversation from your heart about something that you are authentically passionate about. “
  4. Four Languages of Communication: Presenter should ensure that his(r) presentation has following four languages. (i) Visual: Show visual representation of as many concepts as possible (ii) Auditory: Summarize findings through stories (iii) Auditory digital:  Support findings with analytical and statistical measures/numbers (iv) Kinesthetic: Develop means of connecting with audience, i.e., audience should feel the message/idea
  5. Authentic Passion: This is the most important one among all the previously mentioned. The presenter must ensure that the message is worth to present.

Better Presentations – I

A few days back I attended a doctoral symposium along with my fellow PhDs at NIIT Universiy, Neemrana, Rajasthan. It was a two-day event in which 17 Ph.D. students from elite educational institutions of India and few experts from Industry and Academia (IIT Profs.) gave presentations. Each presentation was around 15 – 20 minutes followed by 1-2 questions. After the symposium, I along with my colleagues discussed the presentations, i.e., which presentations were catchy and what were the reasons for boring presentations. I won’t repeat the discussion here, but I would like to say that the debate intrigued me to dig deep and understand the characteristics of better presentations.

In this post and another subsequent post, I will nail down the ingredients of a better presentation. In all these posts I will present views of world-class presenters. This post is based on a TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) talk by  Chris Anderson,  “TED’s secret to great public speaking“. Chris is the owner of the TED, a non-profit organization, organizing talks on ideas worth sharing. Chris mentions that there is no unique formula for giving a better presentation. It is not like that you tell catchy stories on red-velvet, rather presentation is means of transferring an idea from a presenter to an audience. He defines this idea transformation process as a synchronization problem, i.e., if the speaker’s and listeners’ minds get synched with one another then idea gets transferred quickly without losing the audience. To make sure that the synchronization will happen between the two parties while presenting, Chris mentions that a speaker should prepare his(r) talk while ensuring following ingredients in a talk:

  1. Develop presentation around one idea: Make sure that the presentation surrounds around one idea. All slides should support the idea.
  2. Develop curiosity in the audience: Provide motivation of the presentation, i.e., why is the presentation important and why should audience pay attention. Also, ask questions in between –  this will ensure uninterrupted bonding between the two participating parties.
  3. Develop each piece of presentation while keeping audience’s awareness in mind:  This means that the presentation should be at listener’s cognition level. Wait! how is it possible while delivering technical stuff to a non-domain audience? The only way to handle this issue is to use “metaphors” as often as possible. Using metaphors at audience level will require a little bit of creativity and time but it is worth to spend the time to get this skill.
  4. Ensure that the presentation adds value to the audience: If you find that the presentation will help audience then you should present, else it is better not to present.