Hysteron proteron

hysteron proteronHysteron proteron is a figure of speech, probably inherited from the Greeks, where the object that should come second is put in first place; “to put the horse before the cart.” Another example would be preparing the supportive media (p2) for a presentation before the story (p1). Whilst hysteron proteron is a useful rhetorical device in literature it is a bad way to construct a presentation.

The standard approach in developing a presentation is to enter data directly into the presentation software in the belief that this will represent the script and often, the handout. This is the sliduement. The p cubed approach suggests that the p1 of a presentation must be derived and developed before and without regard to the p2. The “what” of the data is developed to a story, the “so what” for the particular audience. The media can then be designed to support this. They must be constructed in this order, not in reverse, hysteron proteron.

This approach, placing the development of the most important section first changes entirely the purpose of the p2. Such contrary development may initially confuse those presenters new to the p cubed approach. The pedagogy of learning and not teaching encourages delivery of a message and concepts and not a list of facts. Rather than a data download it is about developing understanding. The p2 is illustrative and supportive not the foundation. It is designed to augment the story and delivery, not become the handout. The (un)natural order, hysteron proteron, is reversed putting the power in front, the horse before the cart.

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  1. Pingback: Presentation – Mind palace of an ER doc

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