Archive for the ‘presentation zen’ Category
by Charles Cameron
[ cross-posted from ChicagoBoyz ]
A great many people will have seen (or designed) some variant of the “coexist” bumper-sticker / tee-shirt design:
What with a thousand flowers blooming, the importance of preserving memetic variations, peaceful coexistence and all, it’s only natural that some will have different takes on the matter —
— the first of these comes from the blog of a gun-toting political refugee from the People’s Progressive Republic of Massachusetts, while the second is a tee-shirt design by Matt Lussier, and you can get your tee-shirt here…
As for myself, I have fond memories of India, and was accordingly heartened to see this on an Indian Muslim site…
which is what set me thinking about “coexistence” graphics in the first place.
Did I ever tell you about the sign I saw over a shop in Delhi, advertising the sale of mythelated spirits?
I frequently feel just a tad mythelated myself.
Working hard on a modest writing assignment for a national security anthology type book. I’m not sure about the rest of you but I find that the kind of shorthand thinking involved in blogging “conversations”, while very stimulating at it’s best, can interfere with the reflection needed to craft more polished and professional prose – a struggle for me in any event. A certain amount of gestation and revision, more focus on developing the concept, is required for that level of writing instead of trying to casually brainstorm ideas, observations, criticisms and questions ( not to mention better sentence structure than you will normally see here).
As a result, I stepped back from blogging the past few days until I have finished the rough. I’ll put up a recommended reading post on Sunday but blogging may be light until I finish. Not sure when.
As an aside, I will strongly recommend ( again) Garr Reynold’s Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery (Voices That Matter) for anyone involved in intellectually oriented creativity, not simply those who’d like to have slick looking powerpoint presentations. Since I’ve started incorporating his suggested design principles into my planning process I can honestly say that I’ve risen to an entirely new level.
A case in point, for those who are not longtime readers, I teach history and periodically give presentations on teaching methodology and curriculum to adults. Normally, I’m a fair public speaker and receive favorable feedback but I’ve done two new presentations recently, both using Reynold’s methods and Sliderocket to deliver the content, once to students and once to an audience of professionals. No comparison. The effect was stunning in each instance. It was akin to having five year’s progress crammed into a month.
Zenpundit has a large number of .gov, .mil and .edu readers for whom slideware is de riguer. Sliderocket, a web application ( you can download a copy though to your laptop for a back-up) deserves generous kudos in it’s own right; my only criticism is that the Sliderocket folks need to have an embed code function for those of us who need to, from time to time, put the slideshows up in a blog or wiki.
If you are still on powerpoint instead of Sliderocket, then you are driving a Model T.
I find that I have fallen criminally behind on reviewing books in the past six or so months and I’m going to try to make an effort to post on at least some of what I have been reading. Time to begin:
Garr Reynolds has done more than write a book about design; he has taken Zen principles and used them to design the book that he wrote. Zen Presentation is an aesthetic pleasure to read, a truly beautiful book where the author walked his talk.
Specifically, Reynolds will show you how you can make your slideware presentations better but Presentation Zen is really more than that; it’s about effective communication. Understanding your own message and then crafting an authentic and persuasive vision. The principles Reynolds articulates while discussing sound design work equally well for the writer, the artist, the salesman or the organizational leader. Here are a few sections particularly worth your time to read:
What makes Messages Stick?
The Art of Working With Restrictions ( all the Boydians out there will grasp this concept immediately)
Two Questions: What’s your Point? Why Does it Matter ?
Kanso, Shizen, Shibumi
Signal to Noise Ratio
The Need for Solitude
Many times, as the text itself is intentionally broken up visually by images and white space, I found myself reflecting at length on the implications of the passage before moving on to the next. Now that’s something that happens with reading certain classics – The Art of War, Meditations (Penguin Classics), The Prince and so on – but far more rarely with modern authors, indicating that Reynolds effort to discern and expound on the importance of the fundamentals was well executed.
If messages are meant to “stick” then Presentation Zen is a sticky book.
SLIP, SLIDECASTING, AWAY!
From Dave Davison at Thoughts Illustrated:
“Here is a test presentation of a new slideshare feature I have been waiting for. Combine your slideshare presentations with an audio track and Voila! an audiographic presentation. Voice over PPT – Very effective for rehearsal or for cleaning up and redubbing a previous audio recording of your presentations. Also useful as soundbite creator for selected segments of a presentation. And, all nicely microformatted by Slideshare to support remixing. Could be a new style of podcasting.”
Here is the slidecast that Dave was writing about, “Differentiation and Engagement” by Garr Reynolds at Presentation Zen ( kudos on the blog name, Garr !):