Presentation Zen

Approach to create higher quality presentations. Restraint applies to preparation, choosing what’s important and not important. Simplicity means less is more visually. Naturalness in the delivery, like a conversation.

Avoid the Slideument: A slide and a document in one, too much text to be visual. This happens when we don’t apply restraint.

You can have a handout with more of your details, then you won’t feel compelled to cram your slides with information.

Zen is at the heart of Japanese culture, not verbalized but present in everyday life.

Concept of simplicity: Not about dumbing things down, rather leaving out what’s not important.

3 Major Steps: Preparation, Design, and Delivery


Identify the core concept.

Adopt the beginner’s mind or the child’s mind. “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities. In the expert’s mind, there are very few.”

How do we clear our mind or adopt a beginner’s mind. Go analog.

From the book Made to Stick: simplicity, unexpectedness,  concrete, credible, emotional, story,

Steps in Planning:

Step 1: Brainstorming

Step 2: Grouping and Identifying Core

Step 3: Storyboarding (off of computer)

Step 4: Storyboarding (in Slide Sorter)


Major focus is simplicity.amplification through simplification

General Design Principles

1: Signal to Noise Ratio (too much color) Audience shouldn’t read and listen at the same time, not too many words

2: Picture Superiority Effect (Pictures photos, charts, etc are remembered better than text/noise)

3: Empty Space (Asymmetrical balance can be balanced)

4-7: The Big Four – Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, and Proximity


Connection: Are you completely connected to your presentation, totally in the moment.


~ by Craig Brewer on May 1, 2010.

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