Tag Archive: zen

Mar 30

Key Words and Visuals-What Contributes to the Story?

First of all, thank you, Garr Reynolds for (pooping a lot) providing many resources and examples to help guide my presentation development.  Having watched Reynolds-sensei present on TEDxTokyo, reading his blog, and watching and reading other interpretations of Zen and the Art of Presentation, I know that I have just scratched the surface on how to sharpen my presentation skills.   I appreciate the material made available for access on the Internet and I find value in what is being presented as Reynolds-sensei works to bring harmony with western and eastern thinking.

Searching for other Garr Reynolds resources on the web, I stumbled upon a presentation that Garr made at Google.  I found this presentation to be more educational for me as the hour workshop provided additional resources and it allowed for dialogue with the audience.  The presentation is embedded below.

YouTube Preview Image

Trying to apply some of the teachings of Presentation Zen, I worked to simplify and refine the content of the presentation.  One take away from Garr’s Google presentation is…What is the story that you want the audience to walk away with?  Sometimes I forget about that story and go straight to listing the facts or possibly including non-essential information.  When working on revising this presentation, I made an effort to decrease the amount of text and increase the visuals focusing on what contributed to telling the story.  I have included a select number of presentation slides below.  On the left are the original slides.  On the right are the revised slides (revision still in process).




I looked at this slide and I thought that while it was informative, but a little on the bland side.






The revised slide on the right is a step in the right direction.  It shows blue skies and a “positive outlook” for the school year.  There is the healthy green of the trees and the learning environment looks fertile.  :)







The revised slide makes the kids the focus and it clearly shows the students in their restaurant role play.








Also, I decided to take the initial wording from the original slide, reduce the wording to only three key words, and include more visuals.



















Original slide







Focus on the key imagery–listening and speaking.







For this slide, I remember pretty much reading from the slide.  As mentioned by many, it is important to keep the slide simple.  If necessary, the important information can be included in a hand-out for future reading/reference.








Perhaps this is the slide with the most drastic change.  Meeting diverse needs, I ran across this picture of bamboo.  While I know that Garr presented on the lessons of bamboo in the TedxTokyo talk, I liken the bamboo to the elementary students.  Bamboo ranges from shoots to tall stalks.  Students range from first graders losing their first teeth to fifth graders bursting out of their chairs and desks.


The story behind the slide makes this slide much more interesting than the original slide.  The imagery of bamboo shooting up to the sky tells a more interesting story than the previous bullet points.

Reading over this post, I am happy with the visual results.  Compared to the original slides, I am much more moved and inspired by the revised slides.  (I am easy to please.)  This process has been good for me and I can see using this post as a future reference when I need another quick recap on how to purify my presentations.

While I understand that I still have much to improve with my presentations, I believe I have taken one small step towards presentation enlightenment.


Other Resources



Permanent link to this article: http://www.coetail.com/dimanishi/2012/03/30/key-words-and-visuals-what-contributes-to-the-story/