I finally managed to get to reading Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. Malcom Gladwell makes an engaging case for why snap judgement often turn out to be right, providing a constant flow of interesting case examples:
  • Firefighters deciding to leave a building seconds before it collapses
  • Art critiques "knowing" that a sculpture is a fake
  • Police agents making the wrong judgement call in a shooting
  • Autistic people unable to follow a pointing finger
The brain is very powerful, it can "thin slice" all memories of let's say all the people we met in our entire life and stack these up against a new individual in front of us. These powers work best when we are well-rested and not under stress. The human brain is built that in case of stress (i.e., we are trying to shake off a tiger that is chasing us), all non-essential brain functions are shutting down to focus on the immediate task at hand.
This book is not directly related to the subject of presentations, but it is relevant for some issues:
  • The first-second audience judgement that every speaker has to deal with
  • "Thin slicing" of bullet point decks. "Uh oh, the guys starts reading his bullets"/[scan the slide]/[open email on the mobile phone]
  • Count to 10, when a heckler manages to get you upset, wait a bit before answering. In "upset mode" your brain is less effective.
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