Sunday, 8 December 2013

Presentation Zen

Many of my students are now working hard on their end of semester PowerPoint presentations, so I would like to give you a few ideas to help. First, I'd like you to know about a great presentation blog called 'Presentation Zen'. I've mentioned the author of the blog - Garr Reynolds - to quite a few of my classes but if you haven't checked out his blog yet, have a look when you have the chance. It is full of good ideas and tips for making great presentations. Take a look at:

Garr lives in Japan and takes a lot of his inspiration from Zen and the natural world in Japan. He has written a number of very popular books on presentation techniques but I think the best place for you to start is with a very useful handout he made called 'How to Design & Deliver Presentations Like a Pro'. The handout is available here:

Here is a small selection from his handout of the presentation ideas I think you will find most useful:

1. Brainstorming - write down your ideas on paper first before making your PowerPoint
2. Keep it simple - avoid too much information on your slides and have one idea per slide
3. Visual - it is best to speak with pictures
4. Stories - illustrate your points with personal stories
5. Keep good eye contact with the audience
6. Use the "B" key

To be honest, using the "B" key is something I sometimes forget to tell my students about. If you press the "B" key while using PowerPoint, the screen will go blank. This is great if you want the audience to stop looking at your slides and just focus on what you are saying. When you are ready to move on, just press the "B" key again. In fact, anyone he tries it in their end of semester presentation will get a bonus point. Firstly, it is a good presentation technique. Secondly, it shows that you have been catching up with this blog!

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