How to Give a “Presentation ZEN”

Balance ZEN in Nature In The Naked Speaker, I imagined how the worse scenario( = being unable to use any visual aid at the last minute) could actually be a blessing.

Here, you can relax, you have a performing high tech equipment, projector and laptop are wired and synchronized, lights are dim, temperature is cool, everything is perfect…

Your biggest enemy could be the temptation to fill your slides with information, to use special effects, to transfer all your focus and the audience 's attention to your Slides Show, at the expense of your Presence.

Imagine if, just like on this picture, you wanted to add an extra stone…

Now,thanks to people like Garr Reynolds, who brought some innovation, thinking and design into the world of business presentations, the concept of simplicity and “Zen” in visual presentations is slowly developing.

He has been one of the first to use Make Your Presentation Naked metaphor (back in 2005!)

Zen, that means following these three principles:

  • Moderation
  • Simplicity
  • NaturalIStock_000007981031XSmall

Moderation in preparation.

Simplicity in visuals.

Natural in presenting.

The focus is now back on the presenter, the message he or she wants to communicate, rather than on the medium, the PPT slides and its horrible beam in a dark room, sending executives to sleep or play with their iPhones or multifruit berries…

I strongly recommend you read Garr Reynolds's blog Presentation Zen , actually already in my blog roll since last year, and it was also the first post I wrote, in French, on the 14th of November, 2008.

As I advised recently to Bengt Wendel, who was looking for some help and valuable book in order to prepare his conference, "If I had only one book to recommend, that would be Presentation Zen".

He ordered it and prepared his slides thanks to the simple and brilliant tips shared by Garr Reynods. He's just back from Malmo, Sweden, where he gave his speech at the Oredev  Conference last thursday.I am sure he did an Outstanding talk.

Actually he even wrote a post about Garr Reynolds 's book, and another one about his coaching experience with me!

Please share your experiences and stories with us, like many did generously and creatively on the previous post, The Naked Speaker.

Can't resist to quote Dorothy Dalton's comment:

"I experienced this in reverse when I was working with a partner who insisted on a ppt – I felt as if I was on a beach in a ski-suit. Over dresssed and overwhelmed! I was not good and reverted after one more attempt in this mode to a more fluid interactive approach."

If you want to read More on Getting Naked, Enjoy!



3 thoughts

  1. You know the best presentation I’ve ever seen was by Tiffany Shlain, filmmaker and founder of the Webby Awards. She spoke before a group of over 400 people with a screen behind her and to my left (facing her). All of her slides were moving images. No text. It took me a little while before I realized that each image was related in someway to what she was talking about while the image was showing. But as she spoke, it wasn’t immediately evident. I will never forget this presentation because her slides were all complimentary to the message that she was delivering, but they were never the message themselves.

  2. It requires a shift in the perception of simplicity as bland or tiring to simplicity as elegant and profound. I love your focus on PRESENCE: to me, the speaker’s greatest asset after actually having a message to deliver.

  3. Great advise Marion. Presentation slides should be used for emphasis, highlighting the salient points that you want your audience to remember. They should be bold, easily read form the back of the room, and used sparingly. Unfortunately way too many presenters simply pack their slides with bullet points and read them. Or even if they don’t read them their audience tries to an as a consequence does not listen to what the presenter is saying.

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