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Presentation Zen focuses on six key principles that differentiate bad presentations from good. My favorite aspect of the book demonstrates the sharp contrast between what a great presentation should be and what we are currently taught about public speaking: make eye contact, speak loudly, stop fidgeting, slow down. If possible, make two sets of slidesWe can't fight city hall and we can't change the conference presentation guidelines quickly. Example from the 05 WOMMA conferenceHere is an example (pdf download) of simple slides (used for the live talk) that are saved with notes to a PDF.
On the other hand, I organized a conference for the last 3 years and posted the speakers' slides on the website. How to present the quite technical issue of digital images and how on earth they can be stored as digital data. As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. O SlideShare utiliza cookies para otimizar a funcionalidade e o desempenho do site, assim como para apresentar publicidade mais relevante aos nossos usuarios.
Clipping is a handy way to collect and organize the most important slides from a presentation.
Recortar slides e uma maneira facil de colecionar slides importantes para acessar mais tarde.
Context mattersHowever, as far as design is concerned, it is useful not to think (judge) in terms of right or wrong, but rather in terms of what is appropriate or inappropriate. Simple but not simplisticIf there is one important precept worth following, it is the idea of simplicity.
Here the author is not necessarily speaking of design and presentation visuals, of course, but we can see how we can apply Zen principles to everyday life including design, even the design of slides and other visuals. Visual makeoverHaving said all of that, below are a few slides demonstrating different visual treatments in support of a single message. The slide on the right (above) was an effort to display the same information in a pie chart. If you suffer from both arachnophobia (fear of spiders) and aviophobia (fearof flying) you would have hated my seat on my Aloha Airlines flight from Kona to Honolulu a few days ago. Finally, I had a nice chuckle when we were served our second meal on the flight from Honolulu to Osaka yesterday.
The slide above uses a (background) photo of the sand at Punalu'u Black Sand Beach I shot a few days ago on the island of Hawaii.Oh yes, I did something else pretty cool while in Hawaii. Virtually every presentation book on the market recommends the use of pie charts to show how parts make up a whole.
Kicking it up a notchI have a lot of respect for John Mackey and I was a loyal Whole Foods customer when I lived in Palo Alto and Cupertino, California. I see the bar charts as showing what percentage of each continent's arable land is being used for organic production. I spent some time at WFM as a marketer and remember being told not to use PowerPoint when putting together marketing strategy documents. Garr: When I first read the data points, I envisioned a world map, where the continents were blown out of proportion, based on the metrics. You don't see a problem with that, at least in the sense that the photos are cliched to say the least and just make the slides dull. Are you saying, then, that the 10-second display of a dense text-filled bulleted slide with several different items that were not touched on is better than a visual with one key point at a time? It's interesting to see your versions of the slides and I do feel that they have a stronger visual impact and convey the message better. The Duarte approach is for their designers and messaging strategists to understand and facilitate these unconscious shifts, to not only create powerful stories and aesthetics for their clients, but to manage them in such a way that allows their audience members to form individual insights.
Forest for the treesWe are often so close to our issue (a product or research question, etc.) that we can not see the forest for the trees.
In my visits to the Duarte office in Silicon Valley, I have always been impressed with the creative spirit and energy of the place.
Nancy Duarte says that they are disciplined about harnessing the emotional value of visual grammar as well, orchestrating the aesthetic experience through well-known, but often neglected design practices such as grouping, isolation, and symmetry, etc. Ryan said he was sent out on just a moments notice to the show to assist Al Gore in making edits or changes to his presentation before the show and also to assist the Oprah Show graphic designers in adapting the Keynote file into a new aspect ratio for the incredibly enormous screen on the set. Below is another interesting treatment of text and images (sans narration) to tell a story. Speaking of html, here is a very interesting treatment of combining html tags within images, a way of (sort of) illustrating the tags visually. Is the last bullet the most or least important?In a document like the one above, what is the relationship of the bullets? I am not arguing with the content of the briefing slides, there are plenty of sites for that. I am a huge fan of TED and truly appreciate their efforts to share their presentations with the rest of the world.
The presentation would have been even better if the bullets were broken into several different visuals. The doctor clearly got his message across while illustrating his point visually with these simple graphics. If you happen to be in the Osaka area (which I realize is not many of you), I'd love to see you at my presentations in the Apple Store February 9 (and again on February 25). While working on my proposal for the Presentation Zen book this weekend I spent some time going through all the archives of the PZ site. I love the posters in a weird sort of way which I can't quite explain, and they were remarkable while they were displayed in public over a year ago. Garr is a former Apple executive and outspoken Jobs worshiper, which shows vividly throughout his book.
Nowhere in those commonly mentioned tips reference how to capture the audience’s attention, tell a story, and structure your argument.
I can’t sit through a PowerPoint without analyzing the images chosen, the utter onslaught of text, and the lack of storytelling in each PowerPoint.
But the slideument is an illegitimate offspring of the projected slide and the written document. As a student I keep having presentations with way too many power points, each of them containing way too much content. Then we include some clever anecdotes on why and when we had to suffer through a terrible presentation, however we do not speak about the who. Besides using an overused template, the visual displays the pie chart in a distorted and inelegant fashion. The examples above are just a few attempts at improving the look & feel, impact, and effectiveness of the original slides.
I've just returned from a two-week trip to the west coast of the US mainland, stopping by the Big Island of Hawaii for several days of laidback fun, none of which involved using a computer. The Big Island is the youngest and largest (obviously) of the Hawaiian Islands -- the recent lava flows are amazing. You can read about the context and content of Mackey's presentation here in this UC Berkeley News article.


In business, for example, we have become quite used to showing simple data like market share (our share of the pie).
Some experts in the visual display of quantitative information, however, strongly recommend against using pie charts. If the Whole Foods CEO is going to do a lot of public presentations like this in future, with just a little coaching and presentation redesign, he can kick his overall impact up several notches.
The continents' shares will add up to 100%, which is inferred though the use of a pie chart.
My one question - if this presentation was important to Mackey, why didn't he sit down with a design prefessional and hammer out even a handful of ideas such as those you've so excellently scamped out here? The point was that it is often (not always) better to segment a bulleted slide into several slides. Needless to say, this made the people behind the design of Al Gore's Keynote slides — Duarte Design — very happy indeed. Their approach really seems to embrace the six aptitudes outlined in Dan Pink's A Whole New Mind (one of my favorite books): Design, Story, Symphony, Empathy, Play, and Meaning. The images where coming right from Keynote, in fact right from the MacBook Pro that was on stage with Al.
The slides, which were obtained by the National Security Archive under the Freedom of Information Act, show what planners in 2002 projected might occur if the US invaded Iraq (get all slides in PDF). I am saying that the way in which it was presented is something that we ourselves should avoid doing at all cost. Here are a couple of very short TED presentations (only three minutes each) which you will enjoy.
Ornish's talk is at its best when he highlights the growing obesity problem using the US map.
It takes no more time to have three different visuals (slides) appear in order than it does to display a single slide with three bullet points. I came across this post I wrote back in September, 2005 on finding design inspiration from ads inside Japanese commuter trains.
He preaches simplicity, design, purpose, and engagement over wordy slides and mind numbing details. This book resonated with me because my current work requires me to present detailed technical documents to the general public.
The latter could include more written explanation, helping the slides to stand better on their own.
By the end of the decade, let's hope that when a typical knowledge worker in New York or New Delhi asks a colleague for an informal update on the project that she gets a speedy reply in the form of a phone call, a face-to-face conversation, or a clear email message, rather than a 20-page slideument attachment so popular today. Of course, making the courses boring and not being efficient as course material afterwards. A consequence, that is, of our careful efforts to craft a story and create supporting visuals that focus on our audience's needs in a clear and meaningful way. The problem with the slide on the left is that the clip-art used does not reinforce the statistic, nor does it even fit the theme of women in the Japanese labor market. It's wonderful for the creative soul actually to get away completely from technology for a while. I'm a bit paranoid myself of flying and I'm always looking for something to worry about it seems while waiting for takeoff. There are something like eleven different climates on the island — we went through most of them as we drove around the entire island in one (long) day. Essentially, John Mackey was there to make a presentation and have a conversation that would persuade Michael Pollan (who was critical of Whole Foods in his bestselling book The Omnivore's Dilemma) and a skeptical Berkeley audience that his large company still has the credibility to lead the food movement into the future. Or does the image add an appropriate "emotion" and interest or serve as a kind of mnemonic which aids in memory? The use of pie charts is ubiquitous in today's world, but we may want to re-think our usage of such charts.
That is, to breakup bulleted slides with many points into visuals that come in behind the speaker as he focuses and elaborates on one key idea at a time.
The image of the store clerk taking inventory (doing business) is just an example, an option, one idea among many possible treatments. A new point of view usually arises, they say, from an unconscious shift in perception when the elements of the problem morph into the solution. Text appears as every word is spoken but done in a way to accent and emphasize and highlight.
At first I did not appreciate it because the size (and speed) of the text was hard for me to catch (ah, the joys of being over 40). Presenting paper documents like this — which violate rule after rule of good document design and good writing — will obfuscate our message, not clarify it. Both have good content, a simple and important message, and each presenter uses visuals that evoke emotions. The audience was a good mix of business people, designers, professors, and college students from all over the world. For a document that surely has gone through a lawyer scrubbing it actually reads pretty well. As Klingon is the language of trekkies,  PowerPoint is the language of business in America. He thoroughly understands why people remember great presentations and why most presentations are forgotten the next day. I learned that if you lead with stats, charts, and budgets your audience’s eyes will quickly glaze over. Although I weep for those that have to sit through 120 slides of text, I feel privileged to have read this book and learned how to avoid this mistake for future audiences. We can include written detail in the notes view of each slide; hopefully the conference will produce PDFs of our PowerPoint slides which reveal the notes along with the slide. It often had important pieces of information involved in that it kept the clan safe, warm, and fed.
So much depends on how the visual is placed within the context of the presentation, and the content and objectives of that particular presentation are of paramount concern. So how to design a slide that is subtle, simple, memorable, and fits into a theme that is appealing and attractive? Also, rather than giving the slide a title, a declarative sentence that states the point directly may be more appropriate. Notice that either slide (especially the slide without any text) would be virtually meaningless without the presenter's narration. The short time away from Japan too has inspired me and given me greater appreciation for many aspects of Japanese life, not the least of which is the absolutely amazing customer service you'll find here.As you know, I believe strongly that we can learn many things about presentation design by casting a wide net and examining not only great speakers and presentations, but by opening our eyes to studying all aspects of visual communication. So I was a little distressed when I noticed a live spider crawling around, trapped between the exterior and interior windows of the 737. At Punalu'u Black Sand Beach I took a few photos of the sand, thinking that the sand would make an interesting texture for my images library.
Rather than making data easier to see, a pie chart (especially a 3-D rendering of one) can make data harder to understand visually and quickly. Jokes apart, I think presentation basically comes down to story telling and telling it in a way like you would to a friend and not present per se.
Designers do not decorate, they make things clear, and they help the creator of the story make meaning.


Obviously I'm not recommending you do something like this for every second of your presentation, but this little piece of work is a creative, inspiring text treatment that will give you ideas for working with your own text, images, and narration. The presentations are not perfect; I think you could offer up several tips to each of these brilliant men that would help them the next time they do a short presentation with visuals. The playful nature of his visuals and his delivery are consistent with the look and feel of his book as well. The graphic makes people laugh, but they also get the seriousness of the problem (Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying).
If you are interested in the anti-smoking movement in Japan (such as it is), there is some info in English here. From the first to the last day of our working careers, the soft mouse clicks and smooth transitions of a PowerPoint slide are the delivery vehicle for our mid-afternoon naps.
Much death-by-Powerpoint suffering could be eliminated if presenters clearly separated the two in their own minds before they even started planning their talks.Projected slides should be as visual as possible and support our point quickly, efficiently (good signal-to-noise ratio), and powerfully. This is not ideal, but a work around, perhaps, if the conference requires a copy of our slides.
I can teach a T-Rex to fetch with his mouth, but I cannot teach him to be a good painter using his hands. For example, even the best visuals used in support of a presentation for one audience on, say, quantum mechanics, may appear complicated and confusing to a different audience. The handout that followed the presentation expanded on the relevance of the statistic and gave it context. Again, I think pie charts can be used from time to time, especially in business, but it's worth reexamining our old charts to see if there is a more appropriate way.
It is just a sample -- If Whole foods ever used an image like this obviously they can take snaps of their own stores. More often than not it is a call to action (buy something, do something, change something, create something, etc.).
It is worth repeating, however, that I never say we should do it like this presenter or that presenter.
When most people look at such a long bullet list like the one above it's only natural to assume (whether consciously or not) that the last bullet may be of lesser importance than items higher up on list. The single biggest thing that would have improved his presentation is the use of a small remote so that he could keep his eyes on the audience and his hands and eyes off his PowerBook.
We stayed nearly an hour answering questions and greeting people before finally heading to the local pub for a pint on the way home. In 2002 the Health Promotion Law (Article 25) was enacted to protect people (employees and customers, etc.) from passive smoke in public buildings, restaurants, etc.
If you can't give me concrete examples, you might say, at least give me a formula for making powerful, simple visuals. The five-page handout proved to be a good reference for those who attended the presentation and for those who did not.
It made me smile; a great example of a decorative script typeface that serves to be ugly and unreadable (and even unnoticeable apparently).
Live and learnMackey's presentation in Berkeley is a wonderful example of a presentation by an intelligent, personable, and passionate leader that easily could have been insanely great but was not.
I liked the pie chart you came up with, its SO much better than the one in Mackey's presentation. PowerPoint decks like this are instead often printed and used in the US government and military as a kind of document. The black one below (left) is the large poster that appears at the entrance of the Apple store. One PZ reader even came all the way from Tokyo (about three hours by expensive bullet train) just for the presentation — thanks Jeonghoon!There is no video but you can see pics from the presentation here, and you can get the gist of the talk from this 5-page handout (750k pdf). In this way, a presenter can tell the story behind the presentation, then provide a handout as facts after the presentation. I also liked the 2d pie chart SJ used in his presentations to display the market share for iTunes, etc. But if we want to improve our abilities in all aspects of presentation — including visual communication, which is under valued and misunderstood by the masses — then we've got to open our eyes and learn from the traditional, the classics, and the famous, as well as from the bleeding edge and the avant-garde. Software developer Hiroyuki Shinohara gave his thoughts on the presentation on his blog (in Japanese).
We aren't there to supply the verbal content and answer questions so we must write in a way that provides at least as much depth and scope as our live presentation.
If you are giving a very technical presentation to a technical audience hungry for data, then your slides may look quite different.
I learned that the spider had been stuck between the two pains of glass for several days; a flight attendant named the spider on an earlier flight. Typography is a beautiful, powerful thing; too bad it is not really taught in schools much. Slides like these would not make for good visuals, but they do not make for good documents either. There were no chairs available when he arrived so Hiroyuki graciously agreed to take a seat on the floor near the front. Often, however, even more depth and background information is appropriate since people can read much faster than a person can speak. But even for a very technical presentation, embracing simplicity of design and striving for the greatest clarity possible must still be the objective. It was not a disaster by any means, based largely on Mackey's sincerity and the courage it took just to show up at all, but it's a shame the presentation itself was not better planned and delivered given the importance of the topic and the profile of the speaker.
See the treatment below or go here on Jarratt Moody's site to see a QuickTime version in higher quality.
Certainly if we are going to make a document to be left behind as a handout we have to do better than printing out slides of bulleted outlines.
Frankly, when you're trying to change the world, there is no excuse for being dull.How could it have been better?There are so many ways in which John Mackey could improve his presentation.
Since printed slides like these are acting as de facto documents to be left behind and examined later, why not present the information with more written explanation and greater clarity in a properly written document which adheres to the principles of good writing and good document design? Perhaps this summer I'll do some Apple Store presentations in other parts of the world as well. It would be great to meet some of you at an Apple Store in New York or London or Toronto, etc. These pseudo-documents do not read well because a series of small boxes with text and images on sheets of paper do not a document make. Cut the presentation part of the evening to 20-25 minutes and spend more time discussing on stage with the host, taking questions from the audience, etc. Based on my trips to the US recently, the slideument appears to be a great burden on corporate America. Mackey's slides are a great example of slides that did not really do anything to help the audience. The slides were stuffed with text, small photos with superfluous animation, and Excel-generated charts so bad and so ugly it's hard to imagine a cheetah with only a cursory understanding of PowerPoint making anything worse.



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