What comes to your mind when you see the acronym KISS? Some of you are enjoying a nostalgic trip down memory lane into a world of heavy metal and painted faces. But for most – especially in the context of design or presenting — we typically go to “keep it simple stupid." The U.S. Navy originated the principle of KISS in 1960 and it became a part of pop culture by 1970.
I believe and value the art of simplicity. Picasso’s bulls, 11 lithographs depicting the animal in various stages of abstraction, demonstrates in an amazing way how simple something can be while still clearly depicting what it represents. So, the point of this post is not to question the value and wisdom of simplicity when giving a presentation. My question when I see or hear "Keep it simple stupid" is to ask, who is stupid? Am I viewing myself as stupid, stuck in my negative self-talk of inadequacies as I prepare an assignment or speech? Or am I subtly believing myself to be the subject matter expert trying to "dumb things down so these people will get it"?
Sadly, I am susceptible to both possibilities and don’t like how it makes me view myself or others in either situation. So, my challenge when presenting to or speaking with others is this: keep it simple and sincere. KISS.
To be sincere is to be genuine, honest. As I challenge myself to be sincere it guides me into having my focus be in/for others. My goal becomes the betterment of someone else rather than over-inflating my own ego as a subject matter expert.
And speaking of over-inflating ... presentations are similar to tires. Both can be over-inflated or under-inflated, often causing negative results. Over-inflated presentations happen when the presenter has a misguided attitude. Keep it simple stupid is one example a misguided attitude. Keep it simple and sincere helps me correct over-inflation (a misguided attitude) when presenting.
About the Author
Shawn Ritchey is an educator and storyteller who finds great joy in breathing life into each presentation in which he plays a part. The imagery of breathing life is significant as he spent nearly three decades in emergency services as an EMT. Additionally, Shawn spent over 15 years in the wellness industry as a licensed massage therapist, and on individual projects as a safety and health consultant.
As an educator, Shawn specializes in safety and wellness subjects where he blends his EMT and massage therapy experience with his professional theater background to provide energized education you’ll remember. As a corporate storyteller, Shawn can partner with your organization to either reinforce important messages you already have, or provide presentations that will both equip and inspire. As an inspirational storyteller, Shawn offers seasonal or theme-based monologues that will entertain and even encourage viewers to action.
Shawn’s commitment, passion and skillset equip and inspire others to remember what they have learned so a life — theirs or someone else’s — can be improved, made well or kept safe. Contact Shawn directly at (206) 355-9926
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