The Zen of Presentations: Guy Kawasaki, Garr Reynolds, & The Health Brothers

FoxBusiness.com published this deansguide article 12-23-08

Guy Kawasaki’s new book “Reality Check” has many brilliant, thought provoking, and important ideas to share. One of those ideas is from Garr Reynolds and it is called the Zen of Presentations. Presentation Zen “is about restraint, simplicity, and a natural approach to presentations that is appropriate for an age in which design thinking, story-telling, and right brain thinking are crucial complements to analysis, logic, and argument.

Reynolds goes on to identify PowerPoint as a crutch rather than a tool for presentations. My feeling is that powerpoint hinders the speakers ability to connect with the audience if used incorrectly; unfortunately the majority use it incorrectly.

The following from Marty Neumeier sums up my feelings quite well:

“PowerPoint has become a full-blown epidemic. Tragically, the victims are company values such as collaboration, innovation, passion, vision, and clarity. If you want smart buy-in, give PowerPoint a rest. Substitute more engaging techniques such as stories, demonstrations, drawings, prototypes, and brainstorming exercises. If a business is a decision factory, then the presentations that inform those decisions determine their quality: garbage in, garbage out.”

What makes a good presentation stick? According to the Health brothers, Chip and Dan, in their book “Made to Stick” sticky aka memorable messages share 6 common attributes:

1. Simplicity

2. Unexpectedness

3. Concreteness

4. Credibility

5. Emotions

6. Stories

Guy Kawasaki’s “Reality Check”: How Not to Choke

My Photo

Guy Kawasaki

In Guy Kawasaki’s wonderful book “Reality Check” we are treated to a two, that’s right 2, page chapter titled simply “How Not to Choke.” Choking may be the worst possible word to have attached to your career, athletic performance, and any moment that is meaningful in your life. To choke is to blow it by not having the nerve, losing your cool, blanking, freezing in the moment, or any number of horrific things a mind can do when it goes on lock down at the worst possible time. H3re are Guy’s ways to avoid choking.

Three Ways to Avoid Choking:

1. Avoid Negative People: stay away from negative people because what they say about you “can lead to you becoming what people say about you.”  Guy’s advice is to simply avoid them or “create product and serve them like hell.”

2. Invoke Positive Stereotypes: Positivity can “enhance performance.” Guy notes that Silicon Valley is a fantastic place for young people to start companies and that the “wunderkind” tag is a great example of a positive stereotype.

3. Frame or Reframe Yourself: Guy quotes Dr. George Lakoff  “you can control which groups identify with and the strength of that association.”

In essence the company you keep, the attitude you exude, and the perception you create are the most powerful ways to avoid choking in any situation. If you want more great advice, check out Guy’s favorite books. For even more great information, investigate Alltop.com Guy’s latest user content resource.