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Dan Riskin Explores the Science Behind Learning Together

Dan Riskin Explores the Science Behind Learning Together

Events are powerful tools for learning. For anyone who works in the meeting and events industry, or have had the privilege of attending these events, this fact may come as no surprise to you. But the science behind this statement makes it all the more meaningful.

A renowned evolutionary biologist and science journalist, Dan Riskin’s specialty as a keynote speaker is to create original, custom presentations tailored to his audience. Knowing he was going to speak in front of a crowd of professional event planners at Speakers Spotlight’s Showcase 2024 — an audience united in their love of a great talk — he took this as an opportunity to explore why events and storytelling are such powerful catalysts for unleashing potential and igniting action in groups.

“I loved Dan Riskin. I really enjoyed his presentation style.”

Showcase 2024 attendee

The Fascinating Science Behind Collective Learning Experiences  

There are three things that happen when an audience hears a great talk and these three things are shared amongst all great talks, Dan said.

1. All good talks are emotionally engaging.

Whether they make you laugh, cry, or become angry, Dan said, a good talk will take you on some sort of emotional journey. Why? Because brains work best when they’re emotionally engaged.

Emotion sparks the release of adrenaline in our body. This hormone binds to our hearts, our muscles, and more importantly (in this case) to our brains. It helps us remember things better, it makes us smarter, react faster, and pay better attention to our surroundings, Dan said.

That’s why emotion is such a key part of a keynote speech. And it doesn’t necessarily have to match what your group is supposed to be learning at your event, he added. The goal of any keynote presentation should be to spark that emotional response in your attendees. This will switch their brains on and prime them for learning for the rest of the day.

2. A great performer uses emotion to get individuals in sync.

When mammals interact socially, and this includes humans, Dan said, our brain waves become synchronized — literally.

“You can have two people in a room,” Dan said, “you put a wall between them, they don’t synchronize. But, if you pull that wall out of the way, as soon as their eyes make contact, their brains will go in sync, and when one of them smiles, it happens even more.”

A great guest speaker gets their audiences in sync, because that’s how we learn better. And, because they’re in sync with their fellow attendees and the speaker, Dan said, the more they’ll enjoy the event experience as a whole.  

3. A synchronized crowd is a powerful thing.

Once you have the emotionally charged presentation wielded by a great performer to cultivate an environment of synchronicity amongst a group of people, that’s when the magic happens. “They become putty in your hands,” Dan said.

“When you bring a speaker in front of a group,” he continued, “you are tapping into something that humans have done forever, since before the written word. You have one person speak to a group and then the group does something. The reason that is so powerful is because natural selection has maintained it because groups of people with a great leader do amazing things and they always have. That’s why it works so well.”

What elevated this speech to the next level was that Dan weaved story within the science behind learning together, expertly proving his point. He used emotion to show the power of emotion in crafting an impactful learning experience. All while sharing the science behind the magic of a great keynote speech.

Hire Dan Riskin to Speak at Your Next Event

Renowned for his infectious humour and charismatic presence, Dan is an award-winning television presenter. He was the co-host of Discovery Canada’s flagship science program, Daily Planet, and host of Animal Planet’s docu-horror show, Monsters Inside Me. Today, he is best recognized as CTV’s resident science and technology specialist.

As a keynote speaker, Dan gives audiences so much more than scientific “wow” facts. His keynotes, like his television shows, help individuals see their own curiosity in a new light, pursue their interests with more vigour, and tap into a deeper sense of inspiration.

Contact us to learn more about Dan Riskin and how he leaves audiences invigorated to embark on their own journeys of exploration and discovery through the power of great storytelling.