We all know that people are bombarded with information on a daily basis. News sites, social media feeds, radio, TV, colleagues, e-mail, memos…sometimes I wonder why we don’t all massively go into overload mode.
When I was a consultant, I had to present quite a bit to managers that were clearly buckling under an excess of information. It can be especially hard to keep people’s attention in such scenarios.
Now, since I moved into the field of social robots, I found an exciting new way to grab and keep your audience’s attention: co-present with a social robot. So what does that mean? What is a social robot and how does one co-present with one? A social robot is a robot designed to interact with people. It can adjust its behavior based on the actions of the person in front of it and it’s designed for people interaction. At WELBO, we like to think social robots should also demonstrate some form of movement. So that means robots like Pepper and Jibo are social robots but smart speakers are not (yet). So what does it mean to co-present together with a social robot? Well, it probably means exactly what you think. You’re delivering a presentation to a group of people together with a partner, but actually this partner is a robot.
So why would you do it? As I mentioned before, especially in business settings, it is becoming increasingly difficult to gather attention because there are simply so many topics competing for that limited attention span that managers have. Managers are people too you know!
Benefits of co-presenting with a social robot
One of the main reasons I turn to social robots is when I have a really important topic and I want to make sure I grab everyone’s attention. Simply noting in the invite and through word of mouth that a robot will be delivering (a part of) the presentation typically ensures a high attendance rate. As soon as the robot starts moving around and reacting to people, you can feel the excitement building in the room.
Also, using a robot simply makes a presentation more fun. Even when you’re explaining how to do TPS reports, hearing it from a robot adds a novelty factor that makes even the most jaded colleague crack a smile.
But more importantly, people are hardwired to capture and remember salient information. Adding a social robot to the mix makes it so much easier for people to remember what is actually being said, because it’s a new and interactive medium delivering the content.
How to create a presentation with a robot
By installing our application and using dashboard.welbo.eu, you can easily upload the contents of your PowerPoint presentation to the system. If you know basic PowerPoint, you’ll also be able to use the simple and intuitive interface to upload your slides.
Next comes the fun part: adding the right animations and robot speech in the presentation. We recommend 80% human and 20% robot. The robot can emphasize a specific point. And the robot can also be a bit tongue in cheek, or feign ignorance in order to drive a certain message home. For example, “Believe me I know it can feel robotic, but it’s very important to log your hours every day in order to keep the admin up to date.”
In order to make sure you are comfortable with the presentation, make sure you know the content really well. And also, practice, practice, practice! It’s always best to use a test audience to check whether your messaging works and whether the interaction between you and the robot is smooth.
Make sure you know the room where you’re going to present. Make sure the robot is there, charged, well in advance and we recommend you do a test-run in the room as well.
Go give social robot presentations a try…
So, presenting together with a robot is fun, captures people’s attention and makes sure they remember your content more easily. I invite you to give it a try. Do let us know what you think.