presentation zen digest(Crafting the story)

The Heath brothers were interested in what makes some ideas effective and memorable and other ideas utterly forgettable. Some stick and others fade away. Why? What the authors found—and explain simply and brilliantly in their book—is that "sticky" ideas have six key principles in common: simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotions, and stories.
 
the biggest reason why most people fail to craft effective or "sticky" messages is because of what they call the "Curse of Knowledge." 
 
The easiest way to explain complicated ideas is through examples or by sharing a story that  underscores the point. 
 
To do this, they scrutinized every scene to make sure that the scene—no matter how cool it was— actually contributed to the story. 
 
eliminating parts that are not absolutely crucial to your overall point or purpose of the talk. You must be ruthless. When in doubt, cut it out. 
 
 
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presentation zen digest (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 your core messages—or the single core message.
 
This can be difficult unless you create a stillness of mind for yourself, something which is hard to do while puttering around in slideware.
 
I don’t think anything is as quick, easy, and immediate as a simple pad and pencil, and nothing gives me space to jot down ideas quite like a massive whiteboard.
 
"If you have the ideas, you can do a lot without machinery. Once you have those ideas, the machinery starts working for you…. Most ideas you can do pretty darn well with a stick in the sand." —Alan Kay
(Interview in Electronic Learning,April 1994)
 
I spend a lot of time working outside of my office in coffee shops, in parks, and while riding on the Japanese Bullet Train (Shinkansen) on one of my trips to Tokyo.
 
And although I have a MacBook Pro or PC with me at virtually all times, it is pen and paper that I use to privately brainstorm, explore ideas, make lists, and generally sketch out my ideas. 
 
I could use the computer, but I find—as many do—that the act of holding a pen in my hand to sketch out ideas seems to have a greater, more natural connection to my right brain and allows for a more spontaneous flow and rhythm for visualizing and recording ideas. 
 
Compared to sitting at a keyboard, the act of using paper and pen to explore ideas, and the visualization of those ideas, seems far more powerful. 
 
The analog approach (paper or whiteboard) to sketch out my ideas and create a rough storyboard really helps solidify and simplify my message in my own head. I then have a far easier time laying out those ideas in PowerPoint or Keynote. 
 
Slowing down is not just good advice for a healthier, happier, more fulfilling life, but it is also a practice that leads to greater clarity. 
 
When you think about it, the really great creatives—designers, musicians, even entrepreneurs, programmers, etc.—are the ones who see things differently and who have unique insights, perspectives, and questions. (Answers are important, but first come questions.) 
 
This special insight and knowledge, as well as plain of gut feel and intuition, can only come about for many of us when slowing down, stopping, and seeing all sides of our particular issue. 
 
One reason why many presentations are so ineffective is that people today just do not take or do not have—enough time to step back and really assess what is important and what is not
 
they did not have the time alone to slow down and contemplate the problem.
 
Seeing the big picture and finding your core message may take some time alone
 
you will be pleasantly surprised if you can create more time every day, every week, month, and year to experience solitude
 
For me at least, solitude helps achieve greater focus and clarity, while also allowing me to see the big picture.
 
Clarity and the big picture are the fundamental elements that are missing from most presentations. 
 
Many believe that solitude is a basic human need, and to deny it is unhealthy for both mind and body.
 
Solitude is required for the unconcious to process and unravel problems.
 
Questions We Should Be Asking
  • How much time do I have?
  • What’s the venue like?
  • What time of the day?
  • Who is the audience?
  • What’s their background?
  • What do they expect of me (us)?
  • Why was I asked to speak? • What do I want them to do? 
  • What visual medium is most appropriate for this particular situation and audience?
  • What is the fundamental purpose of my talk?
  • What’s the story here?
 
What is my absolutely central point? 
Or put it this way: If the audience could remember only one thing (and you’ll be lucky if they do), what do you want it to be? 
 
The presentation would have been greatly improved if the presenter had simply kept two questions in mind in preparing for the talk: What’s my point? And why does it matter? 
 
the presenter is so close to his material that the question of why it should matter simply seems obvious, too obvious to make explicit. Yet, that is what people (including most audiences) are hoping and praying that you’ll tell them. "Why should we care?" That’s going to take persuasion, emotion, and empathy in addition to logical argument. 
 
When building the content of your presentation, you should always put yourself in the shoes of the audience and ask Really ask yourself the tough questions throughout the planning process.
 
Could you sell your idea in the elevator ride and the walk to the parking lot? 
 
practicing what you would do in such a case forces you to get your message down and make your overall content tighter and clearer. 
 
Handouts Can Set You Free
 
Never, ever hand out copies of your slides, and certainly not before your presentation. That is the kiss of death. 
 
The flip side of this is that if the slides can stand by themselves, why the heck are you up there in front of them?"
 
Slides are slides. Documents are documents. They aren’t the same thing. Attempts to merge them result in what I call the slideument 
 
Presentation preparation is about organizing thoughts and focusing the storytelling so it’s all clear to your audience. 
 
If you prepare well, the preparation process itself should help you really know your story. 
 
The computer is a moron. try getting away from the computer in the early stages, the time when your creativity is needed most. 
 
 

presentation zen digest

In 2001, marketing guru and bestselling author Seth Godin—who’s seen more bad presentations than any man should be subjected to— had had enough. Seth decided he’d try to make a difference. So he wrote a 10-page e-book called Really Bad PowerPoint that he sold on Amazon for $2 (money went to charity), and it became the best-selling e-book of the year. "PowerPoint could be the most powerful tool on your computer, but it’s not," Seth said. "It’s actually a dismal failure. Almost every PowerPoint presentation sucks rotten eggs." 

most presentations remain mind-numbingly dull, something to be endured by both presenter and audience alike. 

My favorite book in the summer of 2006 was Daniel Pink’s best-seller, A Whole New Mind (Riverhead Trade). Tom Peters called the book "a miracle." 

"The future belongs to a different kind of person," Pink says. "Designers, inventors, teachers, storytellers—creative and empathetic right-brain thinkers whose abilities mark the fault line between who gets ahead and who doesn’t." 

We’re living in an age, says Pink, that is "…animated by a different form of thinking and a new approach to life—one that prizes aptitudes that I call ‘high concept’ and ‘high touch.’ High concept involves the capacity to detect patterns and opportunities, to create artistic and emotional beauty, to craft a satisfying narrative…." 

it’s increasingly clear that logic alone is not a sufficient condition for success for individuals and for organizations. 

The six aptitudes are: design, story, symphony, empathy, play, and meaning. Mastering them is not sufficient, but leveraging these aptitudes has now become necessary for professional success and personal fulfillment in today’s world. 

Focus, specialization, and analysis have been important in the "information age," but in the "conceptual age," synthesis and the ability to use seemingly unrelated pieces to form and articulate the big picture before us is crucial, even a differentiator. Pink calls this aptitude "symphony." 

Communication is about getting others to adopt your point of view, to help them understand why you’re excited (or sad, or optimistic or whatever else you are.) 

Logic is not enough. Communication is the transfer of emotion. 

If you believe in your idea, sell it.

deep down, we all want to be sold.

No more than six words on a slide. EVER. There is no presentation so complex that this rule needs to be broken. 

Talking about pollution in Houston? Instead of giving me four bullet points of EPA data, why not read me the stats but show me a photo of a bunch of dead birds, some smog and even a diseased lung? This is cheating! It’s unfair! It works. 

Third, no dissolves, spins or other transitions. Keep it simple. 

The home run is easy to describe: You put up a slide. It triggers an emotional reaction in the audience. They sit up and want to know what you’re going to say that fits in with that image. Then, if you do it right, every time they think of what you said, they’ll see the image (and vice versa). 

The art of comics is another place to look for knowledge and inspiration. Comics, for example, are amazingly effective at partnering text and images that together form a powerful narrative which is engaging and memorable. 

Comics and film are the two major ways that stories are told through imagery.