On Hans Rosling – the Master Storyteller

Hans Rosling

Hans Rosling

My admiration of the work and presentation skills of Hans Rosling is well known. Rosling is the master of presenting vast data sets in an entertaining, inspiring and educational way.

He’s also the creator of the Gapminder tools which provide stunning visualisations of those datasets.

This week, TED released the sixth TED Talk given by Rosling. (My admiration of TED is probably even more well known). In this presentation Rosling uses what he amusingly terms ‘Analogue’ presentation techniques (TED terms it ‘colorful new data display technology’!) to tell the main part of his story – a technique well known to Sunday School or Primary School teachers desperately trying to keep children entertained and in the process hopefully provide them with some visuals to remember an important truth.

Click to Play the video below.

The story is about Population Growth and it’s relationship to infant mortality rates. His hypothosis is that the only way to control world population explosion is to focus on improving child survival rates. Perhaps something many of us would have assumed. But the beauty of Rosling’s work is that it provides a wonderfully engaging story to describe the situation – using, of all things, Ikea boxes!

Rosling analogue presentation image

One box represents 1 billion people

But it also uses ‘old time digital’ technology to provide the facts in a stunning visualisation. No PowerPoints. No bullet points. No wordy descriptions.

Rosling on Population Control

Relationship between child survival rates and family size

I love this presentation! I have images of boxes and shoes and cars and airplanes in my head right now. I will remember them, and this talk because of them. I was entertained, amused, intrigued and finally moved to want to make a difference. All from a ten minute talk … and there were no bullet points! Not one!

Once again proof that they key to a great presentation is knowing the story and finding interesting visuals to back up the story – not the other way around.

Other Highly recommended talks talks by Hans Rosling:

(Video Stills from Presentation Zen review – thanks Garr!)

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One thought on “On Hans Rosling – the Master Storyteller

  1. Wow! Coincidentally I have been researching storytelling the last couple of week in the hope of doing better presentations in the future, but I didn’t see this one.

    Thanks for sharing.

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