Archive for: Garr Reynolds

Using Videos in Your Presentation

March 16, 2010

Incorporating video to your presentation has many powerful benefits to keep your audience engaged. It’s a great way to illustrate a point, or even show visually rather than only tell how something has occurred.

In fact, it’s a great way for “businesspeople… to show new stores or products in action or to show interviews with customers,” notes design guru Garr Reynolds in his new book, Presentation Zen Design, which is sort of sequel to his 2008 best-selling book, Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery.

Reynolds says adding video to a long presentation is especially useful to break up the pace, since research shows audiences’ attention tend to drift after about ten minutes, unless some aspects of the presentation are altered.

If you are a Mac user, embedding video (from your movie folder) onto a slide in Keynote 2009 is a simple drag and drop process (see video tutorial).

PowerPoint 2010, which is expected to be released in June as part of Office 2010, promises to include the ability to embed videos. A beta version is already available from the Microsoft site.

Presentation Zen Design: Simple Design Principles and Techniques to Enhance Your Presentations includes other great tips on designing effective presentations that contain text, graphs, color and images.

Reynolds first book, Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery, provided the framework for planning, putting together and delivering presentations.

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Reynolds: 15 Tips For Your Continuous Improvement

Reynolds: 15 Tips For Your Continuous Improvement

September 27, 2009

Presentation design expert Garr Reynolds posted a fascinating blog item today about the kaizen approach to improve, or ways to continuously strive to improve your presentation skills. (BTW – many of the 15 tips can be applied in other areas of your life or career beyond public speaking.)

In his lengthy blog item, he stresses the importance of daily, continuous steps toward a goal are far more valuable than most people think.

“Tiny improvements are o.k.,” he writes. “Over the long-term, these add up to great improvements.”

Reynolds is a former Apple Computer manager, author of Presentation Zen and a marketing professor at Kansai Gaidai University in Japan. As a result, his design methods are often heavily influenced by the Japanese culture.

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How to Build Confidence in Public Speaking

How to Build Confidence in Public Speaking

May 13, 2008

The most engaging public speakers are not worried about succeeding or failing at the podium. Instead, they are focused on delivering their message.

Garr Reynolds, author of Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery, makes this point in his new book by analogizing a speaker to a swordsman in battle.

“Once we think of failure or success, we are like the swordsman, whose mind stops, ever so briefly, to ponder his technique or the outcome of the fight. The moment he does, he has lost,” Reynolds writes.

A presenter, Reynolds says, should focus on contributing something to the audience, rather than focusing on success or failure. Don’t ask: “Will I be appreciated?” or “Will I win them over?” But rather, “How can I contribute?”

By shifting your mindset in this manner, it relieves the pressure off of you, allowing you to perform by being “fully present.” In other words, you can have a conversation with the audience, rather than delivering a memorized speech, which sends your mind elsewhere.

Reynolds, a former manager at Apple and now a professor of management at Kansai Gaidai University in Japan, derives much of his presentation demeanor from the practice of martial arts.

He notes that a speaker to be “fully present,” s/he needs to achieve “mindfulness,” which means awareness of that particular moment. To do so, you must eliminate your personal filter, which makes you worry about the past or future.

“When you perform in a state of ‘no mind,’ you are free from the burdens of inhibitions and doubt and contribute fully and fluidly in the moment,” Reynolds says.

Reynolds acknowledges this is difficult to achieve, but to do so, you must clear your mind and only focus on one place: right here.

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How to Prepare a Presentation in Half the Time

How to Prepare a Presentation in Half the Time

April 12, 2008

If you are starting the preparation of a presentation in PowerPoint, or Apple’s Keynote, you are making the creative process far more challenging than it needs to be. Many business people and college students make this mistake.

Presentation design guru Garr Reynolds says that most professional designers – even those who have grown up on computers – do much of their planning and brainstorming on paper first.

In Reynolds’ new book Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery, he notes that he spends a lot of time working out of his office in coffee shops, on park benches and on trains. Even though, he has a laptop with him nearly all the time, he prefers to use a pen and paper to privately brainstorm, explore ideas, make lists and sketch out his ideas.

“I could use the computer, but I find – as many do – that the act of holding a pen in my hand to sketch out ideas seems to have a greater, more natural connection to my right brain and allows for a spontaneous flow and rhythm for visualizing and recording ideas,” Reynolds writes.

If he’s in his office, he sketches his ideas on a whiteboard, because it allows him to freely brainstorm on a large scale. This allows him to step back and imagine how it might flow logically when slides are added later.

He says the advantage of a whiteboard or chalkboard is that it allows you to use small groups to record concepts and direction. As he jots down key points and assembles and outline and structure, he can draw quick ideas for visuals, like charts or photos, that will later appear in the slide.

He says this saves time compared to going straight into PowerPoint. That’s because if he started in PowerPoint, he would have to constantly switch from normal view to slide sorter view to see the whole picture. And by doing that, it would disrupt his natural flow of creativity in simplifying his message in his head.

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