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Apres la revue de Presentation Zen et Presentation Zen Design, voici quelques principes interessants en lien avec le monde du design. Comme le fait remarquer Garr Reynolds, le design est un art a la portee de tous, sous reserve d’appliquer un certain nombre de preceptes et de regles elementaires.
Ces regles peuvent etre retrouvees dans la majorite des creations artistiques, meme les plus originales ! Voici donc 10 principes generaux a garder en tete pour reussir une presentation ou tout autre ?uvre de qualite ! Contrairement a ce que l’on pense, les contraintes et les limites sont nos meilleurs atouts.
Garr Reynolds qui est fan de proverbes japonais resume la chose en ce sens : hara hachi bu. Meme si vous etes un expert dans votre domaine, n’hesitez pas a prendre du recul et a aborder le probleme differemment. Les enfants ont souvent tres peu d’idees preconcues sur ce qui est possible ou non, ce qui leur permet de deployer des solutions creatives. Durant la phase de preparation, pensez constamment a aborder le probleme du point de vue de votre auditoire.
Apprenez a eviter les discours lisses et entrainez plutot les gens dans un court voyage expliquant la signification de votre message. Le design, y compris le graphisme, ne concerne pas l’esthetique, bien que celle-ci soit importante. Adoptez le principe general de produire des visuels et autres designs qui n’expriment que le strict necessaire.
Chaque design repose sur un concept ou un message central : tout ce qui entraine la confusion ou detourne du message initial n’est que du bruit. Les outils que vous avez a disposition sont importants et necessaires, mais vont et viennent au gre des lancements. Ne vous focalisez donc pas sur les differents moyens et techniques visuelles mais plutot sur les idees que vous souhaitez communiquer. Le design est avant tout une question de choix et d’intentions, rien n’est laisse au hasard. L’utilisateur final ne remarquera generalement pas « le design », la seule chose qu’il verra est que « cela marche », si jamais il se pose la moindre question. La capacite a produire de bons visuels est tres souvent liee a notre capacite d’observation.
Les bons designers ont le talent de bien observer et de faire attention a ce qui les entoure. Developper ce reflexe est tres important : pour chaque affiche publicitaire, chaque visuel sur lequel vous tombez, prenez le temps de regarder l’?uvre dans son ensemble ainsi que chacun des elements constituants. Patricia a Recemment publie : Consultez les professionnels de la videosurveillance de Dream-Protect pour faire installer des dispositifs de surveillance video.
Ha et bien merci Patricia, car je voulais acheter un logiciel sur internet, et le site etait tellement complique a utiliser que je n’ai pas reussi !!!! I may be naive, but my philosophy concerning public speaking has long been to remain open to non-paid opportunities, outside the business world, if I can actually be of help. Do you have any stories about how the "eat like a bird, poop like an elephant" philosophy has helped (hurt?) you, either as a person or organization? Today, I might use Japanese expressions like jyou kyou ni yotte (judgment depends on circumstance) or tokito baaini totte tsukaiwareru (use depends on time and circumstance) when discussing what techniques or equipment to use for a particular presentation. What tools or techniques you use to make your presentation depends on a great many things, of course.
But did Microsoft invent the wordy, bulletpoint-ridden PowerPoint slide approach, the approach ridiculed by Edward Tufte and so many others?
I do not suggest you judge a presentation visual the same way you do a work of art, of course.
Above left: Saying thank you is a wonderful, gracious thing to do, especially at the beginning. Above left: It would be better if Steve had broken this up into three slides with declarative titles for each, less colors and fewer bullets. Microsoft has smart, creative employees who get itI think it's very cool that Microsoft allows employees to blog on the company. The professor goes on to say that the Presentation Zen site, Beyond Bullet Points and Tufte's The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint should be required reading for employees. Here's hoping a new way of presenting will one day make it up to the top levels of Microsoft management. Trying to kill two birds with one set of slidesAttempting to have slides serve both as projected visuals and as stand-alone handouts makes for bad visuals and bad documentation. Why don't conference organizers request that speakers instead send a written document that covers the main points of their presentation with appropriate detail and depth? To be different and effective, use a well-written, detailed document for your handout and well-designed, simple, intelligent graphics for your visuals. But my aim is not to discuss Microsoft's strategy but to focus on this particular presentation. Bill Gates and Steve JobsI am not attempting to be glib or sarcastic (really), but perhaps Bill Gates and company should look to Steve Jobs and Apple for more than just technical inspiration.
To be fair, I was not at the presentation, so it is possible that the presenters did an amazing, inspiring job in spite of their bulletpoints an clip art. Back in July, I discussed applying the principles of wabi-sabi to your presentations in Wabi-Sabi and Presentation Visuals (part I) and Wabi-Sabi and Presentation Visuals (part II).
I was quite interested, then, to read this article, Wabi-Sabi's Simplicity, over at one of my favorite sites, 37signals' Signal vs. If your holiday is not going exactly as you planned, perhaps this little flash video will put a smile on your face.
As I will be traveling more internationally in 2008, I really hope to meet many of you in the coming year.
Microsoft's Ric Bretschneider assembled a podcast (available in January) with Nancy, Microsoft's Howard Cooperstein, and myself. Although I had not slept in something like 39 hours, I could not resist playing basketball with Ric and Howard in the offices of Duarte Design. As I sit here on the floor at the Kansai International Airport (they've got to get more outlets near actual chairs here), I just heard from my publisher that the books have left the warehouse in Indiana, though I am not sure how long it takes for Amazon, etc. Working at home on the cover before heading over to Mayumi's design studio a few blocks away. While I was in Tokyo, I spent Tuesday morning at Getty Images Japan to meet again with a few of the iStockphoto exces who were in town. Before I began working on the book, I was looking for a simple way to add more value to it. In Tokyo I learned that the Presentation Zen deal is even better than I thought: the deal is not 10 free iStockphoto credits ($10 value), it is a deal for downloading 10 free images at the highest resolution (around $130 in value). Tokyo International SchoolBefore the Apple event I'll be speaking the same day for the faculty of the Tokyo International School, an amazing school that has been getting a lot of attention in and out of Japan. Twenty-seven years ago today John Lennon's life was taken from him in front of his New York City apartment with his wife Yoko by his side.
Three video presentations for peaceI didn't expect to be moved so deeply while simply checking a few websites in the morning while having my first cup of coffee on this lazy, sunny Saturday in Osaka. Carl Sagan (1934-1996) was a famous and brilliant astronomer who was also a great speaker and presenter. MetaphorSome of the graphics will seem a bit dated in this clip below, but this clip is a good example of using a metaphor and simple graphics to help illuminate a complex issue.
Here's another presentation by Lawrence Lessig on Google Book Search given in classic Lessig style but this time uploaded to YouTube.
The future according to the prosEveryone agrees that it is often best to see a presentation live if we can, but what if we can not?
Online presentationsEven the best click-through-my-deck experience would hardly compare to the actual presentation. If I can't be there live, then I would would much rather see an on-line video of the presentation shot in such a way that I can see both the presenter and the visuals. Who knows what the future will look like?Again, it's early days so Slideshare may turnout to be a very useful service. Much of the problem with Slideshare may simply be similar to the problems with PowerPoint (or Keynote). I put a couple of presentations on Slideshare over the last two weeks, to investigate its potential - maybe someone will drop me an email, right ? Last facts : I modified the first presentation (the #41 of the month), to display the right fonts. As long as people see slides as the end, and not the means to the end (or rather the AID to the means to the end), then we'll probably not see a wholesale shift in how and why people use slideware (or services like Slideshare). Perhaps as rich-media applications become more mainstream, we might see some improvements in people focusing on the story, not the slides.
But in our time-crunched world, it will always be faster to just dump your thoughts onto some slides (at least for the majority of people). As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. Good methods for sharing presentations?We all agree that PowerPoint or Keynote slides are not a presentation.
Easy method for sharing?I'm interested to hear what you think are the best methods for sharing presentations over the web. Preparedness and practice create confidence and reduce anxietyHere's what I said on my website about confidence and presentation anxiety: The more you are on top of your material the less nervous you will be. Exercise mattersNo amount of sex the night before will make you a better presenter if you are not prepared (obviously). In my presentations, I may have several slides which feature a quote from a famous (sometimes not so famous) individual in the field. Note: The photo of the woman making tea in the sample slide above was snapped by me about a year ago in Kobe. Children like Sam remind us that we can learn new skills, including the art of presentation, no matter how old (or young) we may be.
Sometimes slideware presentations are so inappropriate and off kilter that you just have to laugh to keep from crying (sleeping?). The lesson I've learned from watching great musical performances live is that the music plus the artists' ability to convey their (musical) message and connect with the audience is what it's all about. A lot of people ask me where they can get good-quality images, so I thought it would be good to have one post that I could bookmark and send out to people. Above: Steve discusses how they've been trying to shoehorn a G5 into the PowerBook, but have been unable to do so due to the power consumption of the chip.
We also must be careful not to exaggerate differences by shifting the baseline to a higher number.
The slide above (left) uses a PNG file with only the subject selected, not the whole image.
Examples of a PNG file over a video in a slideAn interesting, subtle effect you can do quite easily is to have a movie appear behind a transparent part of your image.
Below are screenshots which describe a bit of how I made the slide with a single JPEG (purchased from istockphoto) which I edited and saved as a PNG file and placed over three versions of the same small QuickTime movie. In the original image (above left) I selected the lens (with 1 pixel feathered for smoothness) and cut it out. In playing a musical instrument such as the piano, for example, sometimes you play at it and sometimes you play in it. Being nakedBeing naked involves stripping away all that is unnecessary to get at the essence of your message. How to present nakedThis is not an exhaustive list (so please send me your naked ideas), but here are a few things to keep in mind when trying to present naked. Presenting 100% naked may not be appropriate for every case, but stripping down as much as we can often will make a huge, refreshing difference.
Even legendary jazz artist and master performer, Wynton Marsalis, couldn't help but be impressed by Jobs' presentation skills. Presentations are conversationsWhat has always made Steve Jobs such a great presenter is that he seems relaxed and informal in tone and style (yet gracious), as if he were having a conversation with a group of friends at home in the backyard. There are many options out there, but keep in mind that the best sites, such as Getty Images, are expensive with low-rez images (suitable for slides or web) often $75-$100 depending on usage. About a year ago I mentioned to Guy Kawasaki that I had started a new design group in Japan. Voswinckel uses Mayer's work — and the work of many others as well — to reach a similar conclusion.
Hardt speaks for 15 minutes and synchronizes his talk quite smoothly to what must be several hundred slides.
6 takeaways for aspiring presentersAs with all Steve Jobs presentations, there is much we can learn and apply to our own unique situation. Nancy on my left, Howard on my right, Ric across the table.Conversation with the publisherThe next podcast is a recorded telephone conversation with Nancy Aldrich-Ruenzel, publisher of Peachpit and New Riders.
Hear other interviews with authors including Robin Williams on the Peachpit website website. I don't usually point to political speeches, and frankly there hasn't been too much worth talking about over the years.
It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation: Yes, we can. It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail towards freedom through the darkest of nights: Yes, we can. On this website, and even a wee bit in the book, I have compared Bill Gates's PowerPoint presentations with Steve Jobs's presentations to underscore the relative ineffectiveness of Bill Gate's presentations with slides. You can see the entire speech and read the transcripts on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation website. UpdateThis just in: US presidential candidate Barack Obama was not on Bert's list this year because he was number one last year.
Here Steve is talking about the automotive category of iPod accessories and the fact that more and more automotive companies are featuring iPod connectivity in their cars. It is very easy to be simple and elegant when a) you're already heavily successful and b) your success is focused in a single tiny point. But it's also important to find out whether the people wathing the presentationa actually learned anything beside what they already knew from the mainstream newspapers. Que ce soit pour une presentation ou tout autre realisation, gardez en tete le type de public auquel vous vous adressez. Une presentation magnifique avec un pietre discours aura un effet deplorable sur votre public. On ne parle pas ici des fonctionnalites de votre produit ni de la qualite de votre design mais de sa signification aux yeux des utilisateurs et de la composante emotionnelle qu’il delivre. Les details sont importants et necessaires mais les gens se souviennent avant tout de l’histoire. Elle est le resultat de vos choix et de vos decisions, y compris des elements que vous avez volontairement exclus ou inclus. Reflechissez egalement a la facon dont l’auteur a presente et voulu mettre en valeur ses principaux messages. Je dois etre trop vieille ou alors les gens qui travaillent dans la technologie ne se rendent pas compte de ce qu’ils produisent comme usine a gaz ? Most everyone agrees that doing volunteer work for your community or school, for example, is a noble and worthwhile thing to do.
For all the free gigs I do, I always get something out of it such as a new contact, new knowledge, a recommendation, etc. For those of you in the area (Kansai), you can get more information on my presentation by contacting the people at ACCJ here. This used to frustrate me since I was used to more concrete plans and absolutes and making decisions rather quickly. That honor goes to a small company called Forethought, which released PowerPoint for the Mac in 1987. The company also provides many video streams to past presentations, often including written transcripts.
The highest level of taste moves beyond the usage of brilliant colors and heavy ornamentation to a simple and subdued refinement that is the beauty of shibumi, which represents the ultimate in good taste through conscious reserve. But understanding the essence of shibumi can have practical applications in your creative work. A Word or PDF document that is written in a concise and readable fashion with a bibliography and links to even more detail, for those who are interested, would be far more effective.
I believe we can use many of the concepts in Zen and Zen aesthetics to help us compare their presentation visuals as well as help us improve our own visuals. Here Jobs is talking to developers at the WWDC'05 about the transition from the Power PC RISC chips to Intel. But early media reports coming from the few people who attended the event have been less than glowing.
1: Know your message inside out (and backwards)Leaders use speaking opportunities to communicate their vision in a crystal clear fashion (otherwise, what's the point of getting on stage?).
Well-designed visuals won't save a weak message, but poorly designed visuals will necessarily detract from — or even completely undermine — an otherwise strong verbal message. We traveled from the snow in Oregon to make it here to Oahu for a little rest before heading back to Japan to begin what is hopefully a productive year of work and contribution in 2008. The original Drifters song is a classic all on its own, but the simple, creative Flash animation is a treatment you just may enjoy. We went out for lunch with the president of Getty Images to a funky restaurant near Harajuku and heard interesting stories about the history of stock photography in Japan, etc. By the time the book is out (Amazon still says next week: Dec 17, 2007), a special area on iStockphoto's website will be set up with 50 images from the PZ book from which you can choose your 10 free high-rez downloads.
The presentation will be in English but what little text there is on the slides will be in Japanese and English. Like millions of others, I remember to this day exactly where I was when I heard the news (in my case, in the cold, dark parking lot of Mt. But I was floored by this short documentary-like footage of John, Yoko, and the peace message.
If Carl Sagan would have lived to see TED, I am sure he would have been one of the best presenters ever at the TED conference. Good presenters will ask us to step back and examine the problem from another perspective to better see what is true and what is not. You can argue that it is too simple, but  remember that this kind of calendar metaphor to explain the history of the universe is not meant to be the end of the conversation, it is only meant to be the beginning. I'm the first to admit that sometimes I just don't get it, so perhaps some of you can help me out. SlideShare does indeed make it easy to upload PowerPoint slides and it is quite cool that you can embed clickable slides into your blog or view them in good quality on a large screen. Sure, this is not easy to put together, but for the viewer this it is a million times (perhaps I exaggerate?) more compelling than an online PowerPoint deck.
What we need is the whole enchilada — we need to see and hear the person speaking in addition to seeing the presentation visuals.
It's not about Powerpoint for presentations, it's about Powerpoint as an automated slideshow instrument ! But for those who could not witness our presentation in person, it is helpful if we can share the message on the web. Although, since our eyes are conditioned to scan back to the left and the strongest part of a screen is often the upper left, I wonder if it would be better to have the speaker appear on the left and graphics on the right? Please feel free to point to effective on-line examples of taking a live presentation and making it available for the web.
If you have taken the time to build the logical flow of your presentation, designed supporting materials that are professional and appropriate, there is much less to be nervous about. The quote may be a springboard into the topic or serve as support or reinforcement for the particular point I'm making. Sam's a huge Steve Jobs fan and has worked hard to refine his own presentation style, incorporating many of the techniques used by Jobs.
If you didn't know he was a musician, you might think he was talking about the art of presentation. I often say, for example, that we can improve our presentations by emulating certain aspects of Steve Jobs' presentation style.
These are not necessarily perfect either (e.g., do the shadows add to the perceived area of the largest slice? Again, these are not without issues either (personally, I am not a fan of textures in bar charts). The personal qualities which Verdine's performance had, which even our presentations must have, are these: (1) Energy. It is a good idea to use video clips within your slideware, such as an interview with a customer or an expert in the field. When I send the orange object to the back, you can easily see how the larger imaged is masked, revealing what is underneath (above right).

Then I send the videos to the back (right) and the moving images appear as reflections in the lens and the eyes.
The harnessing of this creative energy and being fully present is more of an intuitive activity, not an intellectual one. Markuz, a fantastic presenter by the way, is a designer and photographer from Switzerland who divides his time between San Francisco and Kyoto. The sento (public bath) is a common feature in Japanese cities and towns as well, although their numbers are decreasing. A way that was simpler, fresher — perhaps even a bit cheeky — and far more satisfying to both presenter and audience. The naked presenter approaches the presentation task embracing the ideas of simplicity, clarity, honesty, integrity, and passion.
There are no magic tricks to his success nor is his effective style the result of years of dramatic study. The fun he was having clearly was felt by the audience as they were laughing right along with him. It's like the old iMac except for these nice additions (and the 20" model is cheaper). Getty has great quality and selection, no question, but what if you can not afford to make a slide presentation costing hundreds or thousands of dollars in stock image fees? It was there that I found Till Voswinckel's thesis, Presentational Visualisation Towards An Imagery-based Approach Of Presentation Visuals. My own experience — and the experience of many of you reading this, no doubt — is that the best visual support occurs when the presenter's words are synchronized with and augmented by full-screen, high quality photos or other high quality images, with text being used sparingly on screen if at all. I have not had a chance yet to read the entire thesis critically, but there is no doubt that this paper will contribute to the on-going discussions concerning the best ways to present and the role of slideware. The Takahashi Method and Professor Lessig's approach do have similarities, though Lessig uses photos and other graphics, albeit sparingly. Sometimes you may want to curb your enthusiasm, but most presenters show too little passion or enthusiasm not too much. Jobs also does a good job of using visuals to show how something is bigger, faster, cleaner, whatever, such as when he used a pencil to show the relative size of the MacBook Air's internals. The first one is hosted by Ric Bretschneider Senior Program Manager for PowerPoint at Microsoft.
And then yesterday, here in Japan so many miles away from the US, I stopped and took a moment to turn on the international news. This was not Bill's final presentation to be sure, but let's hope in future that he continues to either present with no slides at all or with a screen that is more visual like the one he used at CES.
Green, by the way, is a good color choice for showing sales growth as green connotates many positives such as growth, safety, money, harmony, and so on. My point is that the iPod and the related iTunes business were THE topic for Apple this past year. De meme, tout autre ?uvre artistique le laissera de marbre si celui-ci n’est pas accompagne dans sa decouverte. My thinking is that discounting my services, say, to an investment firm, may indeed cheapen my brand. Or send me an email and I'll forward you the ACCJ announcement (in English and Japanese).
The presentation was more of an opportunity for the CEO to show his leadership, vision, and what it all means.
And I believe presentations are best viewed as creative endeavors — all of it — preparation, design, and delivery. I like the background color for this visual, but it doesn't fit with the bulk of the slides which have a familiar blue background. But surely not all the people at Microsoft, a company which attracts great minds from across the planet, agree with the typical "death-by-PPT" approach? Seth Godin writes that conference organizers too often shoot to satisfy the middle of the bell curve with the goal of being average and avoiding failure in an attempt to pull off a successful event. The speaker's presentation, however, consisted of an endless stream of bullet points detailing (with text) what is possible today with multimedia.
What the conference organizers are implying, then, is that an encryptic series of slides featuring bullet points and titles makes for both good visual support in your live presentation and for credible documentation of your presentation content long after your talk has ended.
PowerPoint (or Keynote) is a tool for displaying visual information, information that helps you tell your story, make your case, or prove your point.
When I get back home from the conference, do organizers really think I'm going to "read" pages full of PowerPoint slides? Talented jazz musicians, for example, know never to overplay but instead to be forever mindful of the other musicians and find their own space within the music and within the moment they are sharing.
Sounds daunting, but as he said (and shows above) Apple has made daunting major shifts successfully before.
One unfortunate habit he has is constantly bringing his finger tips together high across his chest while speaking. Gates needs to read Cliff Atkinson's Beyond Bullet Points, ironically published by Microsoft Press. It appears this recent presentation by Bill Gates, in the end, left things quite unclear, at least in the minds of many who attended the event. Sure, not everyone will agree with Jobs' observations, conclusions, and projections after his presentations, but at least people are not left scratching their heads in befuddlement. If you are going to get up in front of a lot of people and say that the design of your strategy matters, that the design of your integrated software matters, then at the very least the visuals you use — right here and right now, at this moment in time with this particular audience — also need to be the result of incredible design, not hurried decoration. I made two podcasts while on the US mainland—one with Microsoft and Nancy Duarte and the other with Peachpit Press. Click on the screen shot below to see this unique presentation of the Drifters White Christmas from the '50s. We did this for about an hour while we talked about presentations and PowerPoint, the future, etc. Several are already on their way to the house at the beach where we'll be staying in Oregon (one book was sent by FedEx and is already there).
Getting ready to get on the plane to work on tomorrow's presentation at the Stanford Alumni Center, then over to Duarte Design after that. I approached iStock last spring with some ideas and iStockphoto has been fabulously supportive every step of the way. I'll be speaking on some themes from the Presentation Zen book and showing many examples and video clips, etc. Great place.At Stanford Dec 18I fly to San Francisco on December 18 and speak for a group at Stanford University in Palo Alto on the same day.
Then I thought I would revisit two other video presentations set to John's music that we've all seen many times before.
In the clip above Sagan says:"How would we explain all this to a dispassionate, extraterrestrial observer? I want to get it, I want to understand, but I am having a hard time understanding all the buzz around Slideshare. So, if you want to share a great presentation you made last week, will uploading the slides used in the talk to Slideshare really help you make an impact? But without the possibility to include audio (or video and animation) with slides I just do not see what all the excitement is about (yet). If that's not possible then a slideshow of sorts with narration and appropriate animation may work pretty well a la Lessig's Free Culture presentation. Would you rather TED provide slides that the presenters used or would you rather kick back and watch and listen to these folks tell their stories and make their points. I guess that the nice photos (from SXC, by the way) make it attractive for the people watching Slideshare. I also posted a pure diaporama, featuring some photos of San Francisco : very low response too.
Lessig's style and his method are certainly not for everyone (nor appropriate for every situation), there is much to like about his approach. But there may be aspects of it that you can emulate or parts you can incorporate into your talks when using slideware. Also, the three Lewis examples have too much extraneous graphics above and below the slides and video. Sometimes this is done with a split screen or a single shot which frames both Steve and the slide image.
Perhaps there was (is?) an evolutionary advantage to staying low and not being noticed by predators, including the human variety. And, if you have then rehearsed with an actual computer and projector (assuming you are using slideware) several times, your nervousness should all but melt away. Still, if you are well prepared, exercise including a swim in the hotel pool, yoga, or a jog in the park (etc.) followed by a good night's sleep can be a huge help. A typical Tom Peters presentation at one of his seminars, for example, may include dozens of slides with quotes.
And of course, if your quote is inaccurate or completely irrelevant to your point, it may undermine your efforts in a big way. My books for, example, are filled with tags and pages full of my comments and highlighter marks.
A true performance transcends the simple act of artists playing music and people listening.
But in a sense he is, because the art of musical performance and the art of presentation share the same essence. Today, though, I'd like to talk about one aspect of Steve's presentation Tuesday that we can learn from by not emulating. To be sure, it was a very good year for Apple and Mac sales were up over the previous year (and iPod sales were up even more).
PowerPoint has a tool that will delete the background color of an image if it is a solid color, but in my experience it does not produce professional results on all images.
He is the photographer and designer for the new book Mirei Shigemori: Modernizing the Japanese Garden.
We want it all to be so safe and perfect, so we over think it and put up a great many barriers.
Do not be occupied with thoughts of the future, of thoughts concerning what the results of your presentation might lead to. It's so good for the creative soul to play live and connect with other musicians and an audience. I like to play with people who can play simple and are not threatened by other musicians thinking they can't play. Even if you never used PowerPoint in your life, you could master the 10% of it you actually need in an hour or two with a tutor.
Yes, his slides are simple and stunning, and his speaking synchs perfectly with the visuals. And in this interview with Yorkshire Media, Guy answers an important question concerning the iStockphoto business model (half way through the interview). If you give presentations in your job, even if only occasionally, this is a document you will want to download, print, staple, and give a good read.
The research by Richard Mayer (Multimedia Learning) puts forth at least some scientific proof which supports our anecdotal evidence.
MacLennan does a good job of reviewing recent posts in the blogosphere concerning presentations and slideware.
Scott, a Presentation Zen reader, sent me a note on Monday pointing out the unique presentation style of Dick Hardt. Yes, a presentation on medical treatments by a researcher is different than a CEO's keynote, but in each case the appropriate level of enthusiasm can make all the difference. Ric has been at Microsoft forever (or it just seems like that) and he's created a new website called Presentations Roundtable which will feature different podcasts related to presentations in future. At this point I had slept enough, but I think I was still battling jet lag and overdosing on Christmas cookies. This presentation is extremely visual yet not a single visual aid is used; Allende paints the images with her words. No more excuses for us now: If Bill Gates says it's OK to present to an audience backed by an attractive display sans bullets, clutter, and bad clip art, then what is our excuse (except habit)?
And when he is not presenting to a deck of slides filled with bullet points, he is a pretty darn good communicator as well.
No New Year's video greeting card this year, but checkout last year's if you have not seen it. Most political speeches are real yawners (for me at least) and I do not point to them too often. Your own style and use of visuals will be different and unique to your own situation, of course.
I don't have any problems with the content of Steve Ballmer's keynote (that's not the focus of this blog anyway).
PowerPoint is a terrible tool for making written documents, that's what word processors are for. One does not read a printout of someone's two-month old PowerPoint slides, one guesses, decodes, and attempts to glean meaning from the series of low-resolution titles, bullets, charts, and clipart. Graphic designers show restraint by including only what is necessary to communicate the particular message for the particular audience.
In a great jazz performance much of the real power of the music comes from the spaces in between the notes. I am saying that if you move far beyond what is typical and normal in the context of presentation design, you will be more effective and different and memorable. Jobs' presentations generate a lot of positive buzz and always release yet another wave of viral communication about the presentation's content.
If the visuals did not help, then they quite possibly got in the way of Gates making a meaningful, personal connection with the ninety or so people in the room.
Until all the Amazon warehouses have the book in their computers, etc, customers may get notices that the book is coming next month or later.
If you pre-ordered the book you may have received a reply that says to expect shipping in February. For my live talks iStockphoto has supplied with me with lots of cool swag to give away including bookmarks with claim codes for free images that I can give to everyone in the audience.
I never can sleep on airplanes so I'm usually quite tired by the time I get to the other side of the Pacific. Sagan always spoke of complex issues in ways that were easy to understand and made you excited about science. Perhaps, but the problem is, if your visuals were any good for the live talk they probably won't do much good by themselves, and in fact they may obfuscate rather than clarify your story without your own verbal (and nonverbal) input.
Now if Slideshare can make it easy for me to do something like this Flash presentation by Lawrence Lessig, then they are on to something. But clicking silently through slides while attempting to glean the message is not my idea of fun (or learning). Sure, for those who see the video or the live talk access to their visuals may have some utility as they can remind the viewer again of the key points. Lessig's method works best for him live when he is situated very close to the screen so that the audience can easily see the screen and prof. I like the method (and Flash), but a simpler interface — slides and video — would be even better. No matter the reason, it's a fact that standing in front of a group of people is freighting to many and provokes varying degrees of anxiety among the rest, including seasoned presenters and entertainers. When I saw them in November, I was impressed with their musicality as well as their ability to connect to and engage with the audience.
Pacific Northwest and you can catch his songs on soft jazz stations on the radio or internet. Below, then, are links to both inexpensive sites and sites offering free images in searchable databases (but check terms of use). And that is the use of 3-D charts to represent 2-D data.At Tuesday's Macworld keynote, Steve announced — almost parenthetically — that many new features have been added to the newest version of Apple's presentation software, Keynote. But the first bar can also appear larger than the data would support since it appears closer and has a visible top.
The point of the chart was to show the difference between the PPC chips and the new Intel chip in terms of performance per watt. Then on the top layer I can select and delete sections or make selected areas more or less transparent.
But you could place the video within an image of a TV or even make it appear as a reflection of a camera lens. Frankly, I do not know if you would ever want to show reflections of moving images in the iris of the human eye. Or we retreat, however unconsciously, and play it safe by hiding behind a stack of bulleted lists in a darken room in a style void of emotion.
People at the highest level of management do not often present naked, but I wish they would. At that time the selection at iStock was not huge by any means, but the search engine was good and I could find some gems in there. Hardt gives credit to Lessig for inspiring the unique method he used in his presentation on Identity 2.0. For longer presentations it would be more appropriate to change pace — sometimes moving quickly, slowing way down at other times to explain a confusing point, for example. Maybe not his best performance ever (there were a couple of minor glitches and the Apple TV hunk could have been shorter), but still it was very good.
He welcomed everyone and then quickly (very quickly) reviewed what a fantastic year 2007 was for Apple without visuals or a script.
In just the first few minutes on stage Jobs used these words: Incredible, extraordinary, awesome, amazing, revolutionary.
People will make an assessment about your performance in the first two minutes, so you have to start strong. While looking for some recent video of Bill Gates today I ran across this June, 2007 speech by Bill Gates.
However, I do not think doing some (sometimes more) work 100% free of charge cheapens what you have to offer, depending on the circumstance. Years ago I used to seek out speaking opportunities at business associations, user groups, etc. At about 7:00 pm interested audience members can join ACCJ at the Sheraton next door for a mixer.
So try getting away from the computer in the early stages, the time when your creativity is needed most.
When you are one of the most powerful business figures in the world, it's better if your presentation visuals do not resemble a cereal box. Gates' slides have titles rather than more effective short declarative statements (this slide has neither).
This gesture makes him seem uncomfortable and is a gesture reminiscent of The Simpsons' Mr. Rather than running through points on a slide, Atkinson recommends presenters embrace the art of storytelling, and that visuals (slides) be used smoothly and simply to enhance the speaker's points as he tells his story. This happens in part because the contents are easily grasped and remembered by both the media, and regular customers and fans. Generally, and from a pure visual point of view, in both of these slides (above) there is (1) too much information in one slide.
But the slide Bill uses has enough cloud formations to make an experienced sailor give the order to batten down the hatches. You can apply the concepts discussed in these articles and posts to presentation design, web design, software development, user interface design, and myriad other creative disciplines as well.
But it is likely that that will change and that shipping will be much sooner than later; it's all in Amazon's hands now. And of course, if you buy the book you get access to a special code that will get you more free images. In addition to the free images, you'll get a code for 25% off on a first purchase of $65 or more. After TIS, I taxied over to Ginza with Patrick Newell, the TIS founder, for the Apple presentation. I have tried to present the same day I arrive after a ten-hour flight once before and I pulled it off, but I don't recommend it.
He did not dumb down the issues, he simply had an engaging and unique way of putting the issue in context and illuminating and illustrating his points in a way that listeners could comprehend.
The site has some potential, but for now at least this service is perpetuating the presentation-as-slideument problem.How much can you really glean from presentation visuals?Slides on their own often tell us little in terms of the actual presentation content or how well the material was presented. Nothing on Slideshare comes close to communicating a message as well as Lessig's Flash presentation below.
But if we were not there and have no access to a video of the talk, surely a more detailed document with good graphic support would be more desirable. I'd love to see the cool technology behind this service used in great ways.Links• Critical review of Slideshare by eelearning• What is Slideumentation?• Slideshare blogIt's hard to find any slide decks that can stand alone, but this one by John Moore is not bad.

After a month or so using it myself (see below), I think it is going to be a Flickr for pictures slideshows. No comment on that issue at all, which means IMHO that people are just looking for great photos, nothing else. The content, too, is especially relevant and important since many of you are bloggers, use images for your presentations, etc.
If we know our material well and have rehearsed the flow, know what slide is next in the deck, and have anticipated questions, then we have eliminated much (but not all) of the unknown.
This reduces stress and also allows me time to visualize the presentation, to anticipate questions, etc. Sam recently gave a presentation in the Apple Store theatre in Chicago on the topic of Pages, a part of Apple's software package called iWork.
Gray is one of Sam's teachers in the after school program, Generation Yes, a program that promotes student empowerment by teaching kids technology and leadership skills. As children, people like Yo Yo Ma (and many others less known) made thousands of mistakes along their path to greatness. Their music was out of sight, but it was their way of talking with the audience, their smiles, and their little bits of subtle, self-deprecating humor that made the two-set performance outstanding. Tom's a great musician, of course, but what I always liked about his live performances was his warmth and his friendly, engaging style that just made the connection with the audience so much better.
Long before the announcement, however, it was apparent that something was different about the slideware Steve was using.
Genuine interest and true passion for your topic has to come from your gut, from your heart and soul.
Then I simply delete the bottom layer, leaving me with just my original image, now with selected areas transparent. Download these two videos below (exported to QT from Keynote) to see short samples of the slides (each less than 2MB). I then placed the image of the lens back were it should be, but now I can control its opacity separate from the entire larger image (because it is actually a separate image). When it comes to slideware functions, I don't think the challenge is to learn more, but rather to ignore more and forget more.
But the essence of his masterful style is something many (most?) people can achieve in their own unique way.
His introduction is excellent though and is a style many people may want to experiment with to grab the attention of the audience and make an impression, and then later slowing down a bit when needed as the presentation progresses. I have seen Jobs be pretty cool with a friend of mine--who was not an employee--and pose for a picture, but it is not his thing by any means. Go to the podcast.A telephone conversation with the Peachpit publisher Nancy Aldrich-Ruenzel in California.
To get the whole story you need to listen to the entire talk; the conclusion is very well done. The only real weak part was the ending; I thought Bill should have been the one to thank everyone and wrap it up on a high note.
Technically, this is not the best speech ever by any means, but considering who Bill Gates is and his incredible accomplishments, wealth, and position, I think this is a great speech. You've worked hard to get where you are today, they say, and you deserve to be paid for your time.
For me at least, clarity of thinking and a generation of ideas come when my computer and I are far apart. Below I show a few slides from Steve Ballmer's keynote (you can download his PPT file here). Yet, when given the opportunity to show how one of their most visible products can actually be used practically and harmoniously to help their own speakers present important ideas, they revert back to PowerPoint-as-usual. With a written document, however, there is no reason for shallowness or ambiguity (assuming one writes well). A blank screen from time to time also makes images stronger when they do appear.Also, it takes a confident person to design for the placement of empty slides. Good graphic design guides the viewer and has a clear hierarchy or order so that she knows where to look first, second, and so on. This can be done even in technical presentations, and it can certainly be done in high-tech business presentations.
Bill has some real cumulonimbus-looking clouds underneath his title, a sure sign that bad weather is ahead?
Thanks to all of you for your continued support in the form of suggestions, comments, tips, etc. A culture that embraces hard work, creativity, and play like Duarte does is just the kind of firm I love. I love Amazon—they are a miracle of sorts—but I have found that they often get the dates wrong for new books. Below you can see the schedule for the day in the Ginza Apple Store theatre, including my talk at 7:00 PM. But I'll be sure to stop by the Starbucks on University Avenue in Palo Alto  before the talk to check my visuals and load up on some coffee (hope the bagels are back next door). He was a scientist-presenter who cared about being clear and about being understood.When Carl Sagan spoke of statistics he usually followed the number with an illustration or comparison to make it understandable in context. The site is appropriately named, however, because you can indeed share basic slides (sans animation, etc.).
For example, here is a deck (below) that I uploaded on my Slideshare account from Swiss designer and conceptual artist Markuz Wernli Saito's presentation last month. If you're going to ask me to do all this reading of bullets, etc., why not just present the material in a proper downloadable document or in an easy to read online format with well-written text and embedded images, even videos? Below is one of my favorite TED presentations, this one by Sir Ken Robinson speaking on creativity, education, etc. But for on-line representation of the live presentation, Lessig's slides in sync with his words is certainly better than viewing a PowerPoint deck alone. When you remove the unknown and reduce anxiety and nervousness, then confidence is something that will naturally take the place of your anxiety. Still, there may be occasions when poking around one of the quotations pages may be of help. This was a great opportunity for him to share his knowledge and demonstrate his solid communication skills.
With an open mind and childlike optimism about what we can become, learning and improvement can be quite remarkable. Proof again to me how important spontaneity and emotional connections are with an audience.
This is true whether you're pitching a new technology, explaining a new medical treatment, or playing at Carnegie Hall. This cool blog has a laundry list of free photo sites.(9) Robin Good has a good page dedicated to helping you find good images. This Australian site links to free stuff in Australia and worldwide, like fonts, freeware, etc.(4) Indezine on fonts.
The first indication came when he showed a 3-D pie chart (complete with a wood-like texture) representing the market share for iTunes. Both examples feature a single slide with running video (the slide on the right has a bit of animation as well).
Alternatively, I could have just selected the lens area and lowered the opacity directly on the larger original image (that's what I did with the eyes of the woman), but then I could not adjust the opacity of the lens directly in the slideware separate from the larger image.
However, whether or not you find this image technique useful, supremely superfluous, or just too complicated is entirely up to you and your unique situation. And if she uses slideware, her slides fit well with her talk and are harmonious with her message.
The secret is to communicate in front of a large group the same way you do everyday when you are talking with your spouse or your best friend down at the local Starbucks.
If you do not have the time, then watch this edited tongue-in-cheek-version of Tuesday's Macworld keynote below which condenses the content down to 60 seconds. Right off the bat he was acknowledging the importance of the audience and that they are they important ones, they are who this presentation is for.
People may forget the number, but they will remember that the MacBook Air fits easily in a standard office envelope (they remembered all right).
Please keep in mind that I was out of my mind with exhaustion from the long flight, presentations, no sleep, etc. This was a scripted speech, and one of the best written and delivered I have seen in some time. Her speech is well written, and although the topic is very serious, she uses just the right amount of humor at the right times. But all-n-all I'd say this was the best I have seen Bill perform with a remote control in his hand on stage.
The Credo, a small card which every employee carries with them, contains 20 important principles that are the heart and soul of the Ritz-Carlton promise.
But first, allow me to introduce another concept from the Zen aesthetic we can refer to when examining these visuals and our own visuals. Find a book on Japanese gardens (like this one from my friend, designer Markuz Wernli Saito) or visit one in your area (if you are lucky enough to have one). The following day I'll set off for Oregon for a week and then to Honolulu for a few days on the way back to Japan for New Year's Day.
In the beginning of this clip below you can watch a good example of Sagan doing this without any visuals, though his words create the visuals in your head (which is sometimes even more effective).
Sagan says there is emerging a new consciousness which sees the earth as a single organism. Just by looking at the slides, which you may find quite cluttered and unconventional, you could surmise that the live talk was not so great.
It's not just about notes on a page, it's about telling a story and sending a message with your music — right here and right now — with this audience. Although the iTunes market share figure was the point, it was the pie chart that people seemed to notice more. The slides are in synch, and are simple and beautifully designed, yet never steal the show or rise above serving a strong but simple supportive role.
The middle stuff is important, of course, but blow it at the start or at the end and all may be lost.
But beyond the structure and delivery of the presentation from this charismatic storyteller, it is the content that needs to be heard.
But here are some non-Americans that are exceptional presenters: Markuz Wernli Saito (Switzerland), Daniel Rodriguez (Mexico), Hans Rosling (Sweden), and Marco Montemagno (Italy).
Each audience member received the credo and could refer to it as Ricco called attention to particular sections of the card. You can learn a bit here about the Zen aesthetic and Japanese gardens in this article by Dr. Really appreciated everyone coming out (which is hard to do on a week night in Japan).Go to my flickr site to see more images from this talk in a slideshow. However, it is early days so perhaps this will turn into something quite useful in future, but for now this is a real head scratcher for me.
If it is a presentation then I'd like to exercise my auditory channel as well as my visual channel. I'm certain there are even better resources, so please let me know and I'll update this post to make it better. Many of the new Keynote features are quite useful, but the 3-D tool, which was not available in previous versions, is one I could do very well without. You can't fake itThe best presenters I have ever seen were not trained actors or professional presenters (though they may indeed present a lot). It's not just my opinion, Dale Carnegie says essentially the same thing in the book, How to Develop Self-Confidence & Influence People by Public Speaking. However, if you think it is appropriate for your situation, now or sometime in the future, I can promise you that knowing basic Photoshop techniques will prove to be very useful for you. Free from hiding behind anything (including slides) and the fear of possible exposure that accompanies such hiding.
Let your personality shine throughWhen you talk with your friends about something of deep, mutual interest, do you speak to a deck of bullet points on a slide?
But the real key is his ability to connect and have an interesting conversation with the audience. And my favorite speech of 2007 is this 1992 speech from a 12-year old Canadian, Severn Cullis-Suzuki. Two of the people who have seen the entire book are my editor Michael Nolan and cool blogger Pam Slim. And yet, in only 40 years of life, John Lennon made amazing contributions to the human race that people continue to talk about today and will still be talking about for generations to come.
Markuz's talk was one of the best presentations I'd ever seen; it reminded me of something Dana Atchley used to do. The best presentations I have seen were from everyday business people, designers, or researchers who (1) had a clear interest in their topic and about sharing it with the audience, (2) had their material down clearly and accurately in their minds and in their visuals, and (3) they displayed a clear passion for the material and made warm connections with their audience, connections that were undoubtedly sincere. But this short speech had it all: simple but eloquent and powerful language, and a strong yet upbeat, friendly delivery. Living here in Japan I have many chances to experience the Zen aesthetic, either while visiting a garden, practicing zazen in a Kyoto temple, or even while having a traditional Japanese meal out with friends. Slideshare's execs were there (Rashmi, and Jonathan) as were the Decker team, and some cool executive communication coaches I knew from HP, etc. A lot of presentation vips were there including two lead managers from Microsoft (PowerPoint), Slideshare, etc. It goes against the grain of how I think presentations are to be delivered." Is all the buzz just the result of getting mentioned on TechCrunch and having somebody say you're the YouTube of something, or is there something really powerful there that's going to actually help people communicate more effectively?
It's not about being perfectI don't recall ever seeing a great presentation that was absolutely perfect (from the point of view of a communications coach, for example).
It's about telling a story and making a connection in a way that can not be duplicated by anyone else. In Jobs's case he saved the MacBook Air for last—the 4th thing he wanted to talk about. Looks like the speech and communication teachers have a new one to put in their reels.Yes, we canRepetition is a classic technique in presentation and speech making (and in design as well).
I have no idea, but thank God for YouTube.) I hope more people—especially young people—will hear this important message by Bill Gates.
I am convinced that a visual approach which embraces the aesthetic concepts of simplicity and the removal of the nonessential can have practical applications in our professional lives and can lead ultimately to more enlightened design. If you have not received your copy, it really does exist, even though it seems hard to get. Ric Bretschneider, Lead Program Manager PowerPoint at Microsoft and Howard Cooperstein, a Microsoft manager who used to be Lead Program Manager for OfficeArt were also there. Great people (more later including some awesome and funny pictures with the cool guys from Microsoft). So now we can visualize all the explosive, deadly destruction that took place in all of WWII (1939-1945).
Of course, he also used a lot of video along with his compelling storytelling ability, none of which you can get from just the slides alone.
But do slides-as-documents really meet the definition of what constitutes a proper "document"?
If you are being true to yourself and the audience, if you are authentic, how could it possibly be duplicated? A business keynote by a technology company is different from a scientific presentation at a conference, but isn't it always about what the numbers mean rather than just the numbers themselves?
Some argue that emotion is not necessarily irrational, that intelligence and emotion go hand in hand. The final pushThe pictures below are from the night of November 20, the night we uploaded the entire book after final checks to the production people in the US. In fact, you show me a perfect live sales pitch, for example, and I'll show you a fake TV infomercial. Most people — even those who give some pretty bad, sleep-inducing PowerPoint presentations — are (at least relatively) interesting and alive when they are in conversations at work or with friends. Indeed, I find her and her message of passion and hope to be a great source of inspiration for both men and women.
The 2GB InDesign file (a bit smaller compressed) was uploaded from Japan to the server in the USA after we made sure all the images and links were OK (very time consuming). Our obligation to survive and flourish is owed not just to ourselves but also to that cosmos ancient and vast from which we spring!"Below is a quote from Carl Sagan's Cosmos that goes very well with this photo of Earth I pointed to earlier. And her TED talk proves again that you can effectively give a speech from a prepared script so long as the writing is good and the delivery is warm and engaging.
My point is that facts alone are rarely a sufficient condition for change or impact (though they are a necessary condition). Meeting Bert Decker was a real thrill as he is the grand master of presentations coaching in Silicon Valley.
This can be difficult to provide clearly in a PowerPoint deck that is viewed without your own narrative.
Why do otherwise interesting and intelligent people become so dull and seemingly disconnected during business presentations, class lectures, or while presenting at a conference? Actually, while watching the latter parts of Obama's speech today I almost got the sense that Obama was channeling the styles of both MLK and JFK (an idea that some in the media noticed as well). And while it's nice to have a choice perhaps, 2-D charts and graphs will almost always be a better solution. With Getty's Creative Express you can buy one-month or one-year subscriptions and download up to 50 stunning images a day.
This allowed the perfect vantage point to observe one of the most passionate performers (without a mic) I have ever seen. This website is dedicated, at least in a small way, to putting a spotlight on some of the causes and exploring solutions. Yes, brains and reason and compassion are requirements for leadership, and a leader better have a plan and the intelligence to see that plan through.
The angular relationship of the 3-D charts often make it hard to see where data points sit on an axis.
You probably have never heard of him: His name is Verdine White, the bassist for EWF and original member of the group (his older brother Maurice is the founder of the group).
In the end, it is up to every professional to become aware of their strengths and weakness and act to improve, improve significantly. But great leaders also inspire and motivate, and nothing inspires and motivates like a great speech.
The letter and the video (especially the Happy Christmas music video at the end) are evocative, and for many provocative perhaps. The license works differently for subscription, but this may be a wonderful option for the right project (check out the FAQ).
Is it decoration or is it design?Slapping on tired textures such as marble and wood is not only decorative, it is ugly.
Verdine is an incredible musician with more funk and soul in his little finger than I have in my entire body.
While I never offer panaceas, one thing that will help is if you approach the delivery (though not the preparation, of course) the same way you do a conversation with friends. I have received several emails and comments since Tuesday about the 3-D charts in the keynote. It is OK to use an image (in this case the cloud image), as long as the images that go on top of it are kept simple. But what Verdine taught me last night is how unbelievably Powerful a sincere display of genuine passion can be.
It speaks to the loss all of us have felt, (feel, or will feel) when we lose the person most important to us. Verdine never stops bouncing, running, and seemingly flying across the stage all the while displaying one of the brightest, most infectious smiles you will ever see on a stage. These 3-D options serve no useful purpose; they add only ink to the chart, and more often than not make it more difficult to estimate the values represented. Designing eye-catching (3-D) charts in Keynote 3 is as easy as creating them." What are they saying? Perhaps Steve used 3-D charts in the course of his presentation to not-so-subtly highlight Keynote's new capabilities.
No matter the reason, we can take the occasion here to learn from this minor design miscue.

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