This week, my class is focusing on crafting presentations. When I realized that meant I could blog about a clip from one of my favorite movies, I became really excited. Therefore, here’s a one minute presentation informing you that

There is a time to dance!

60 seconds and the town was never the same. If you haven’t seen the movie “Footloose,” I feel sorry for you, but I’ll still catch you up on the dilemma: A small town had banned rock music and dancing after local teenagers were killed in a car accident. City-boy Ren wants to change all of that, and to top it off, the man who is against it the most is his crush’s Bible-thumping minister father. Also, I would like to point out that the minister’s son was the one driving the car when it wrecked, so he is one billion times against dancing.

Fast forward, they get to have a school dance. Yay!

So how does 60 seconds of Ren speaking change everything? Well, was his speech a boring old PowerPoint? Besides the fact that PowerPoint wasn’t even invented when this speech was given, it has something that Troy Hicks refers to as “stickiness.” In the fourth chapter of his book Crafting Digital Writing, Hicks breaks down “stickiness” into six simple factors: simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional, storylike. I’ll break it down even more for you using Ren as an example.

  • Keep it simple – Ren kept his message simple and to the point. He didn’t dumb it down, that would have turned his audience off. Instead, he remained focused on his topic and didn’t babble on.
  • Introduce the unexpected – If you don’t know Ren, then you may not know he’s not a very religious guy. He surprised his audience when he pulled out a Bible and began quoting scripture. This really surprised the council and those in the crowd, and intrigued them as to what he was going to use it for.
  • Make it concrete – Ren used natural speech, he didn’t try to play it up even thought he knew he was talking to a council of men. Moreover, he gave real examples. He knew his audience well enough that the real examples he chose from the Bible were very meaningful to them.
  • See that it’s credible – Ren referenced scripture from the Bible. These passages might not mean anything to some people, but Ren knew his audience. Moreover, he did not just take random words, but used the scripture in its proper context.
  • Appeal to the emotions – Many emotions were already very high during this meeting. Ren appeals to the audience’s sense of sympathy and even leaves some with optimism and hope.

An additional “stickiness” factor is telling a story. We’ve all had experiences that other can learn from and laugh at. Sharing them keeps the audience entertained and focused.

Overall, I love this idea of “stickiness.” It can help keep students from delivering boring presentations because they will have these interesting guidelines. These will allow them to focus more on the content and delivery of their presentation rather than worrying about meeting a specific number of slides or words that has nothing to do with their topic. Furthermore, students do not have to feel as anxious about giving presentations if they have these clear guidelines and are given an example. You don’t have to use this one, but instead pick a movie that your students enjoy.