Willie Smits and Thinkers of the Jungle

by Oliver Adria on 06/04/2009

willie_smits_250 Having lived in Indonesia for 20 years, I really enjoyed Willie Smits ‘ talk on how he sustainably regrew an area of rainforest on the island of Sulawesi (where my mother is from, coincidentally), taking into consideration cultural, economic, social and environmental issues in the area. His talk was very strong and you can see it that he was determined and passionate about what he did. At the end he deservedly received a standing ovation!

But I also want to take this opportunity and talk a little about his slides, as in my opinion they give a very good breeding ground for a short case study :-) . His first slides were very impressive (full-sized pictures) and they “emotionalized” what he was talking about. The picture of the orang utan gave a face (so to speak) to the creature he was talking about. Then he showed some pictures of the rainforest. It was really intense. Though then I was surprised that he had a couple of slides full of bullet points, and they were the exact opposite of the previous slides. The bullet points were fact-based, non-emotional – which I thought was sort of a shame. Though in the end, the bullet points were very negligible, because his story, his passion was strong and you nearly don’t notice the text anymore being so wrapped up in the presentation experience. Some of the slides towards the end were some charts and illustrations. Though they are improvable, you still will feel they had added value – because some parts of his talk were very technical and the illustrations helped the audience grasp it more.


A very nice image to create emotions in the audience.


The opposite of creating emotions – hard facts and bullet points.

But think about it. After the presentation – when you think of the slides: What comes to mind? Is it the bullet points with some facts on it? Or was is it the moving and emotional images?


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