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What we can learn from 60-second lectures

J. T. Cobb, blogging at Mission to Learn recently wrote about a 60-second lecture series done at the University of Pennsylvania. This caught my eye because, first, I attended Penn for college and also because (note my previous post) I have been focused for a long time on how to be effective in presentations and communication about the future.

Cobb extracts some insights from the 60-second lectures on the importance (and difficultly) of getting to the point, the power of stories and props, and the essentialness of honest titles. This is good advice. I viewed about 10 of the lectures. Only a few really got something done in a minute or two, but seeing their attempts was instructive anyway. I suspect this is an art form that will develop further in the YouTube era of short video clips.

I had the chance almost immediately after reading his post to give a 20-minute talk–what a luxury of time! I put some of his thinking to use and got a great response.

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Jeff Cobb May 1, 2008, 6:20 pm

    John – Thanks for the mention here. I think the U. Penn sight is a great learning tool and I am glad it turned out to be helpful to an alum. It looks like you are doing interesting work. I look forward to exploring your blog more. – Jeff

  • John Mahaffie May 6, 2008, 8:49 am

    On this topic, my friend and futures colleague Randy Sheel (www.antici.biz) shared this thought and a great technique with me:

    I appreciate the practical tips you have been providing to us on the Foresight Network. They have prompted me to add my own. The following is the text of the email I recently sent to my own employees, my clients and prospective clients:

    One of the greatest challenges of my career has been to get people to think a little more about the future to the advantage of the organization they work in. The obstacle is very simple – we are all too busy. The immediacy of the present shoves out the importance of the future.

    I have an idea. It’s called 5 Minutes for the Future. It’s based on the assumption that we can all take at least five minutes every few days to consider some aspect of the future that may relate to our professional life. Please don’t take offense at this. I’m not implying that you don’t think about the future or plan ahead. None of us would be successful or keep our jobs if we neglected this aspect of life.

    So . . . you can anticipate receiving periodic emails, print articles, etc. that will require taking five minutes for the future. And please feel welcome to submit your own or comment on what was sent to the group. I think it would be fun and productive if this became interactive. I know this is simple but sometimes simple works best. I know this will take time to gain traction but I have already generated interest from those who have taken five minutes for the future. Perhaps there is hope.

I'd love to hear your thoughts