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Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery Paperback – January 4, 2008
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"Please don't buy this book! Once people start making better presentations, mine won’t look so good. (But if you truly want to learn what works and how to do it right, Garr is the man to learn from.)"
Speaker and Blogger
Author, Meatball Sunda e
"Garr is a beacon of hope for frustrated audiences everywhere. His design philosophy and fundamental principles bring life to messages and can invigorate careers. His principles of simplicity are as much a journey of the soul as they are restraint of the mouse."
CEO, Duarte Design
"Presentation Zen is just fantastic. Best of all it's not another recipe book about “how to make slides” — this is about re-imagining how your entire presentation will work together as a persuasive and integrated show, from conception through delivery. Awesome."
About the Author
Garr Reynolds is an internationally acclaimed communications expert, and the creator of the most popular Web site on presentation design and delivery on the net: presentationzen.com. A soughtafter speaker and consultant, his clients include many in the Fortune 500. A writer, designer, and musician, he currently holds the position of Associate Professor of Management at Kansai Gaidai University in Japan. Garr is a former corporate trainer for Sumitomo Electric, and once worked in Cupertino, California as the Manager for Worldwide User Group Relations at Apple, Inc. A longtime student of the Zen arts and resident of Japan, he currently lives in Osaka where he is Director of Design Matters Japan.
Top customer reviews
I periodically require an intellectual Red Bull on this topic of "Presentation" after delivering a string of Power Points that just seemed to be so great when you created them, but the reception feels underwhelming. If you sense the feeling I'm talking about, this nagging self-assessment that happens in your head, it needs sating. Presentation Zen does a great job re-centering the process.
You can get very screwed up listening to the opinions of the picayune professional that confuse the quality of `bullet points' for the forest of the total. Opting to self-tune method and skills is my preferred choice to yield the greatest payback.
"Zen" is a very good opportunity to reflect on your method.
Rather than presenting slides that are too full of words, show an interesting picture that is (or is not) somehow related to what you're talking about. When your audience gazes at the slide they are still listening to your voice rather than reading the words on your slide! This presentation style is unintimidating and entertaining for the audience; and although it is more work for the speaker, the presentations are more interesting and memorable.
Other reviewers gave the book low star ratings, one reviewer saying that she is a scientist and that scientists need presentations that convey scientific data better than PresentationZen allows. I am a scientist too, and she is correct: your slides will not convey the scientific data. That reviewer missed something, however: the SPEAKER conveys the scientific data and the audience listens to the speaker.
Garr Reynolds doesn't say to never put words or tables into your slides - the idea is to stop with the persistent (and dull) slides full of the same words that are coming out of your mouth. Doing a hybrid PresentationZen presentation isn't the antithesis to some dogmatic principle of "Zen" presentations, and you probably won't go to prison if you don't follow this style to the letter.
I can understand that PresentationZen is a difficult concept for some. It goes against all the established ideas about PowerPoint presentations, and it is (at first) a lot of work for the speaker. But if you see one or give one, you'll be hooked, especially after all the compliments.
spreads a few good ideas thinly across many pages. Even
with lots of redundancy, the book can be read in a couple
I agree with many of Reynolds' points, especially the problem
for the audience of trying to read slide text while listening
to the speaker, and the need for the presenter to clarify
the message "off line", before working on slides. But:
- much of the advice is targeted towards "pitch"-type
presentations (it wouldn't do for me to use a slide with
two words on it and a stock photo of a crying child)
- the frequent references to Japan and use of Japanese
words was gratuitous and distracting
It's ironic that the author decries "slideuments", but
the book itself straddles the line between a traditional
book and slideware.
If in doubt, get a used copy.