Filed Under (COETAIL.Asia) by on October 11, 2009 and tagged , , ,

Our CoETaIL leaders (aka: Kim Cofino & Jeff Utecht) have asked us to reflect on a presentation we have created in the past looking at how we would implement new visual presentations techniques to better communicate your message to your audience.

PresentationzenOne of the best books I bought over the “Summer” break was Garr Reynolds‘ book,  presentationzen Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery. It’s an informative read and is full of ideas, reasons and ways to ensure that you’re not contributing scores of to the “Death by Powerpoint” group!  My favourite new term is slideument – a cross between a slide and a document.  I know I’ve been guilty of a few “slideuments” in my time!!

Marketing guru and presenter extraordinaire, Seth Godin, contributes to presentationzen with the idea that

communication is the transfer of emotion

He says you can improve your presentation immediately by:

Making slides that reinforce your words, not repeat them.  These slides should demonstrate, with emotional proof, that what you’re saying is true not just accurate.  No more than six words on a slide. EVER.

Don’t use cheesy images. Use professional stock photo images.

No dissolves, spins or other transitions. Keep it simple.

Create a written document. A leave-behind.  Put in as many footnotes as you like. Tell the audience that you’re going to five them all the details of your presentation after it’s over, & they don’t have to write down everything you say. DON’T hand out printouts of your slides.  They don’t work without you there.

I’ve been trying to use presentationzen during the writer’s workshop mini-lesson for my Grade 5 students.  I’m hoping that the visual images will help to stimulate creativity and emotion.  I did think that my slides were presentationzen – after reading the above message from Seth Godin, I’ve discovered that they’re weren’t quite there yet.  I had transitions still, the slides repeated my words, not reinforced them and some had more than six words!

I’ve come to the realisation that the words are on the slides for me, rather than the students, and this is a direct reflection of how much I am still not comfortable with the writing workshop mini-lessons from Lucy Calkins.  I’m using her words, her ideas and I haven’t yet managed to formulate my own words and ideas about teaching writing workshop style mini-lessons.  (but now I digress ……).  Below is a sample of a “before” page and then an “after” page.  Apart from the last suggestion from Seth Godin about creating a writing document (which I guess we do in a way when we hang reminder charts everywhere in the classroom for writing and reading) – I think I’ll definitely stick to the other suggestions.

Before …….

After …….

Garr Reynolds believes

One of the most important things you can do in the initial stage of preparing for your presentation is to get away from your computer.

My planning has always taken place at the computer, so I’m willing to give this a go to see if it helps me be more true to the presentationzen ideal.

I’ll also be asking myself his two questions as I prepare my next presentations:

What’s your point? Why does it matter?

Image attribution: writing journal:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/mullenkedheim/2245053362/

4 Responses to “PresentationZen”

  1.   Kim Cofino Says:

    Wow! What a difference! It is amazing how much the whole experience of a presentation can change when you focus on what’s important and use visuals appropriately.

    I really appreciate your statement:

    I’ve come to the realisation that the words are on the slides for me, rather than the students

    That’s exactly what I thought after reading the book and looking at my (old) presentations. Now I know that if I focus my presentation on the most important points (rather than just everything I want to share) and if I spend time organizing my thoughts about the topic I don’t need those words as cues anymore. Finding the message within the message and then the right pictures helps me clarify what I want to say to the point that the images become the cues instead of the words.

  2.   Naketa Says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Presentation Zen, I love the example you chose to share. I’ve just purchased myself a copy of the book. Cheers

  3.   Chris Betcher Says:

    Too true. Your post is all good advice that I’ve mostly heard before but it was a good memory jogger to see it all written in one place like this. Thanks for the summary.

    A couple of years prior to getting advice from the people you mentioned, I liked the work of Cliff Atkinson from Beyond Bullet Points. He also has some useful strategies for using presentation software to persuade and inform.

    However, like most things in life, I like to use the advice of people like Atkinson, Reynolds and Godin as a guide, not a rule. While all their advice is pretty much spot-on, there are times to follow the rules and times to break the rules. The trick is to know when those times are. ;-)

    Thanks for the post.

  4.   Heymilly Says:

    This was a great post. In the last holidays our facilitator got to see him speak in NZ and loved the chance. I think the most interesting idea out of all of this is just how powerful visual images are to us. 1 image with no words etc can conjure up all sorts of things and keep us captivated on it. I really like your re-worked slide. I am interested to see how this all translates into the writing workshops you talked about. Amanda :)