Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery, 2nd Edition (Ira Katz's Library)

Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery, 2nd Edition (Ira Katz's Library) by Garr Reynolds Read Free Book Online

Book: Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery, 2nd Edition (Ira Katz's Library) by Garr Reynolds Read Free Book Online
Authors: Garr Reynolds
whole, elements that obstruct and obscure.... Clutter, bulk, and erudition confuse perception and stifle comprehension, whereas simplicity allows clear and direct attention.”
    Life is about living with limitations of one type or another, but constraints are not necessarily bad. In fact, constraints are helpful, even inspiring as they challenge us to think differently and more creatively about a particular problem. While problems such as a sudden request to give a 20-minute sales pitch or a 45-minute overview of research findings have built-in limitations—such as time, tools, and budget—we can increase our effectiveness by stepping back and thinking long and hard. We can also determine ways to set our own parameters and constraints as we prepare and design our next presentation with greater clarity, focus, balance, and purpose.
    As daily life becomes even more complex, and the options and choices continue to mount, crafting messages and making designs that are clear, simple, and concise becomes all the more important. Clarity and simplicity are often all people want or need—yet it’s increasingly rare and all the more appreciated when it’s discovered. You want to surprise people? You want to exceed their expectations? Then consider making it beautiful, simple, clear... and great. The “greatness” may just be found in what you left out, not in what you left in. It takes creativity and the courage to be different. Your audience is praying that you’ll be both creative and courageous.
In Sum
    • Preparing, designing, and delivering a presentation is a creative act, and you are a creative being.
    • Creativity requires an open mind and a willingness to be wrong.
    • Restrictions and limitations are not the enemy; they are a great ally.
    • As you prepare a presentation, exercise restraint and always keep these three words in mind: simplicity, clarity, brevity.

3. Planning Analog

    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. A fundamental mistake people make is spending almost the entire time thinking about their talk and preparing their content while sitting in front of a computer screen. Before you design your presentation, you need to see the big picture and identify a single core message or messages. This can be difficult unless you create a stillness of mind for yourself, something that is hard to do while puttering around in slideware.
    Right from the start, most people plan their presentations using software tools. In fact, the software makers encourage this, but I don’t recommend it. There’s just something about using paper and pen to sketch out rough ideas in the “analog world” that seems to lead to more clarity and better, more creative results when we finally get down to representing ideas digitally. Because your presentation will be accompanied by multimedia, you will be spending plenty of time in front of a computer later. I call preparing the presentation away from the computer “going analog,” as opposed to “going digital” at the computer.
A Bike or a Car?
    Software companies have oversold us on the idea of following templates and wizards, which while sometimes useful, often take us places we do not really want to go. In this sense, visual design expert Edward Tufte is right when he says there is a cognitive style to PowerPoint that leads to an oversimplification of our content and obfuscation of our message. The same could be said of other presentation apps as well. Presentation software applications are wonderful for displaying media in support of our talk, but if we are not careful, these applications also point us down a road that we may not have gone, introducing bells and whistles that may distract more than they help.
    More than 25 years ago, Steve Jobs and others in Silicon Valley were talking about the great potential of personal computers and how these tools should be designed and

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