After reading the information for Course #3 I realized that even though I have been creating presentations for the past 15 years, I am a bit intimidated.
I was pretty sure I knew the meaning of ZEN, but decided to look it up just in case. Urban Dictionary provided the most thorough and humorous definitions. Definition #7 really has no bearing on presentations (but may be a hot topic among high schoolers), definition #1 is probably the most popular use of the word, but definition #5 was one that got the wheels turning for me.
ZEN: n: a state of coolness only attained through a totally laid-back type of attitude.
adj.: used to describe someone/something that has reached an uber state of coolness and inner peace
I have never been much of a ZEN person. I was raised in a rowdy, chaotic household that believed in talking loud and taking life by the horns. I believe in sucking the marrow out of life and I never learned how to do that being laid-back. Peace requires being quiet and still long enough to listen – THAT has not always been part of my personality. I even lived in Asia for three years and was constantly shushed on the subways for talking too loud and received stares as I excitedly laughed on my cell phone in a coffee shop. Yep, I have always been known as the clamorous, unruly, rambunctious white girl.
Zen presentations? You got to be kidding me – I am the round, flabby Kung Fu Panda admiring all those amazing “Inner Peace Presenters” that are Master Shifu.
However, for as intimidated as I might be, I am also STUBBORN and persistent!
Reading some articles from my RSS feeder, I found a great an article that made the mountain seem a bit more attainable. Marta Kagan writes about 5 rules for creating great presentations from @NancyDuarte. The article breaks down your presentations nerves by offering 5 nuggets of wisdom.
- Treat your audience as king.
- Spread ideas and move people.
- Help them see what you are saying.
- Practice design not decoration.
- Cultivate healthy relationships with your slides and your audience.
Step by step – My audience is generally my students and every once in a while parents or maybe colleagues. Developing rapport with your students helps to establish #1 and #5 in a very quick way. If you have a sense of respest in the classroom, then healthy relationships are developed. #2 and #3 – Spreading ideas is fairly easy when you have a curriculum that must be taught. That doesn’t mean that you can’t add humor or even personal stories to your presentations to make them more interesting, but that generally takes care of two more of the steps. Practicing design rather than decoration just takes time! Watching Jeff”s tutorial about Zen presentations helped me learn about the process involved with presentations. Lots of brainstorming and getting the overall idea out there. This is very similar to writing and that is something I have done ever since I was a teenager! NOW, it doesn’t seem as daunting!
Kung Fu Misty will be PATIENTLY waiting for the next challenge.