Quora, wonderful crowd-sourced knowledge

The last week I signed up for Quora, as I was in no mood to work. At first, I was skeptical, thinking it was something between Twitter and Yahoo Answers. Ten minutes after registration, I was amazed.

Not to mention the impeccable design and usability, the content got to me. The question were pertinent and the answers were eloquent, insightful, informed. I do not want to underestimate the software engineering effort behind Quora, but that pales in comparison to the social engineering effort required to have such chiseled user-base.

It might have to do with the fact that the vast majority of the users are early technology adopters and they tend to be well-informed and cultivated. We’ll have to see how quality will have to suffer when Quora scales (and it will).

In the meantime, I would like to direct your attention to a question that caught my eye :

What are some proven techniques to overcome fear of presenting to a group?

My response to this was as follows:

When giving a speech, focus less on the actual content and more on your audience:

  • who are they (entrepreneurs, corporate drones, executives, investors) ?
  • what is their background and the keywords they respond to ?
  • are they getting my point?
  • are they involved ?
  • are they bored/tired ?

Focus your speech on getting your audience in the mood you want (excited, curios, contemplating). Be active and don’t zoom in on details.

Remember, people aren’t there to remember everything you say. They probably won’t. They will probably forget 90% in the next hour. But your purpose isn’t stuffing their head with info. You want to induce a feeling, a mood (excitement, curiosity, maybe anxiousness even). Get them interested – if you leave out some detail, they can always ask you afterwards or email you.
The point isn’t to be deliver the perfect message (complete, correct, concise). The point is to deliver a message perfectly (get people wondering, wanting to know more).

So don’t think about the content so much. Rather try to find a natural, semi-formal, attractive way of exposing it.

Remember: the point isn’t to transmit content, but to induce state of mind.
Hope it has been helpful.

Long story short, I was impressed with Quora and with its execution of an otherwise simple concept.

Have you tried it ? What was you experience like?

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