What Nick Offerman Can Teach Us About Manipulating Meaning with Inflection

NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation’s Nick Offerman,who plays Ron Swanson, the staunchly libertarian director of the Parks and Rec Department, is the epitome of manliness. In his free time, he enjoys woodworking, whiskey tasting, fleeing from his ex wives and consuming mass quantities of meat. the seasoned actor started a series on The Conan O’Brien Show called “Nick Offerman From Parks And Recreation Reads Tweets From Young Female Celebrities.” It’s delightfully funny, chiefly because Offerman is the exact antithesis of the ultra-rich celebrity divas who’s tweets.

See for yourself: Nick Offerman Reads Tweets
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This is a testament to the dynamic effect inflection can have on how we’re interpreted. Offerman doesn’t change a single syllable of what these young celebrities tweet, but he makes them funny by reading them with a gruff, no-nonsense demeanor contrary to their whimsical, overly girly nature. Just by changing the way these statements are read, he gives their meaning a complete overhaul.

 

We can apply this to our own presentations by deciding what kind of impact we want our words to make. When you’re giving a great powerpoint presentation on a crucial piece of information to investors, whether it be a standout statistic or your brilliant mission statement, you can’t expect to be able to read it in a flat voice and have its significance reach your audience. You have to sell it. Show the energy through your voice and through your movements. Think about the emotions each statement you’re making should elicit then focus on selling that when presenting.

So when designing your next powerpoint presentation, keep in mind not just what you’re saying, but how you say it. This can make all the difference in your next corporate presentation.

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