Lessons from the Cheetah run

What a running Cheetah taught me about presentations

I wanted to put my new Google Pixel 2 phone through its paces by taking a 240 frame per second video of the Cheetah run, a daily event at the San Diego Safari Park.

Cheetah run

Amazing, isn’t it! So lesson number one, keep your eyes on the target. Your target is the title of your talk. It is the reason why your audience came to your talk. Do not deviate from it. Make clear how each slide relates to it.

I was intrigued by what the staff was doing before the run. Two people went up and down the one hundred meter track several times to pick up any leaf, or potential distraction away from the center line which the cheetah will follow. So lesson number two, avoid distractions that will defocus your audience such as irrelevant photos, gif files, irrelevant slide backgrounds.

The animal had two runs. The second run was one second faster than the first run (an amazing 5.7 second for the 100 meter race). Lesson number three, rehearse. You will be more effective and more concise. But the Cheetah had to rest between the runs to let the heat accumulated during the run dissipate. Do not rehearse back to back too long. Give yourself some time between your rehearsals to recover from rehearsal fatigue.

The spectators were watching the Cheetah and the cheetah was looking at the lure. Final lesson: the audience is watching you too. Be at your best 🙂