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

Create A Workshop As A Strategy For Conquering Fear of Public Speaking

A modern day speaker addressing an audience through microphones

Courtesy Public Speaking Wiki: This young man looks a bit uncomfortable?

What is the #1 fear Americans try to avoid everyday? It is not flying, not going to the dentist, not heights, nor is it reaching 30 without a wedding ring. The #1 fear for Americans is public speaking. We hate to stand up and voice our opinions in front of people. This is odd considering the “loud Americans” tag we carry throughout Europe when people think of our countrymen.

The following information will provide a strategy for overcoming the fear of public speaking and it will illustrate the benefits of creating a workshop.

Workshops: A Strategy for Beginning Public Speakers

A great strategy to overcoming your fear of public speaking is to create your own workshop. A workshop allows the creator a far easier path as a beginning foray into public speaking:

Benefits of Workshops for Creating Confidence in Your Public Speaking

1. Participation: The majority of a workshop is speaker-audience participation. This allows the audience to interact and create content for the speaker. In turn this takes some of the pressure off the speaker

2. Memorization: Unlike keynote speeches or seminars which require large blocks of information memorization, workshops only really require that an introduction and setup be memorized

3. Notes: It is perfectly acceptable for the workshop facilitator to browse and refer to their notes while presenting their material.

Workshops are a creation of your own which become a tool for both you and your audience. The original idea is to create a tool which will deliver your “value” give. The Randy Pausch “head fake learning” value is that you learn about yourself, your ability to overcome obstacles, and your willingness to put yourself “out there.”

Benefits of Creating Your Workshop

1. Research makes you smarter. When you create a workshop you usually perform research

2. Writing your workshop becomes content for your blog or newsletter

3. Establish your public speaking platform

4. Instant exposure for you and your message

5. Opportunity to receive testimonials

7. Opportunity to receive Linkedin.com recommendations