Rick Altman officially opened the Presentation Summit 2012 today. After reminiscing about all the PowerPoint Live and Presentation Summit events over the last decade, he handed the stage over to Chris Bliss, a well known comedian to present Monday morning’s opening keynote.
Chris started by saying he was a little uncomfortable doing a comedy session on Monday morning at 8:30 am — he stressed on how communication is important, and how story-boarding and language can be so useful.
Chris spoke about his experience reading a translated book, which was actually better than the original title. Chris was fascinated enough by the translator, Gregory Rabassa — to find out that he actually had written his own book that deals with translation. Here’s a quote from the book:
Every act of communication is an act of translation
Chris talked about his younger years in the colorful sixties, when he performed as a juggler, traveling cross country as the opening act for a band from Oregon. His father wasn’t amused when he quit college. After twelve years, Chris became the self proclaimed “world’s best juggler”. He then spent his next 12 years as a comedian — for corporate clients, big events, and everyone else.
Here are some quotes from Chris’ keynote:
Be aware of the self interest of the person you are communicating with. Only then you will be able to grasp your responsibility.
Successful communication depends on your ability to respond, and for the other person to respond back to you.
Comedy functions as an information delivery system — it has an edge because it deliberately uses misdirection.
The physical release of laughter releases endorphins in your brain — and reduces your defenses.
Through laughter, walls turn into windows.
Comedy’s use of misdirection allows it to be powerful.
A perfect punchline has few equivalents of powerful communication.
Humor is inherently wild — the individual whom you provide humor to can go and spread it out — this has worked much before the age of social media.
The viral power of humor to spread so fast is second only to drugs.
Viral appeal of a joke with a great punchline can have a great influence on your audience.
If we want to make a better world, take out a little time every day and think funny.
Comedy is a form of ultimate aggression.
Comedy can sometimes be a form of cruelty — so never hurt the powerless, and never tell a joke that can get your legs broken (or get you physically hurt).
The most unexpected lesson of comedy is the appreciation of free expression.
The funniest countries are the freest countries.
The freer you are to make mistakes, the more you will learn — freedom shortens the learning curve.
Chris also provided this quote:
The road to excess leads to the palace of wisdom, for we never know what is enough until we know what is more than enough
— William Blake
A fresh and captivating voice in the tradition of American satire, Chris Bliss is one of the top comedians in the United States, having appeared with Jay Leno, David Letterman, and on Good Morning America. His keynote addresses mix humor, passion, and perspective, all into one compelling message for those who owe their livelihood to better communication.