Live blogging Garr Reynolds’ webcast on Safari Books Online

Update: The post-webcast recording is now available. And here is the slideshow:

Garr Reynolds’ webcast has just started.  I am live blogging now.

  • I am on WebEx watching the slides. The sound through the net is terrible. I am using the phone for the sound part.
  • Garr is on now!

  • He is speaking from Tokyo.
  • There will be an intro, the approach, and how to think like a designer and why it matters.
  • He is giving a self-intro. He teaches marketing and multimedia at Kansai Gaidai University in Japan. He is also a musician. He worked for a Japanese company in the past with engineers. Spent 2 years at Apple, giving lots of presentations. He never hung out with Steve Jobs. He admired him a lot. He watched many of Jobs’ presentations.
  • He has a website, a blog, now the book, Presentation Zen.
  • Presentation Zen is in many languages.
  • He used to present with 35mm slides. He spoke about the environment even back then since he is from Oregon.
  • No bullet points allowed on 35mm slides.
  • Presentation nowadays is all about getting through it. That’s not good.
  • PowerPoint can be a very powerful tool. The problem is all about bullet points.
  • Dr. John Medina has 12 rules for the brain and some rules apply to presentations. “The brain doesn’t pay attention to boring things.” “Toss PowerPoint.” We waste time and money when people fall asleep at presentations.
  • “Death by PowerPoint.”
  • One problem: software default – new slide asks you to add title and text. PowerPoint and Keynote have the same default. Title and some bullet points should not be the standard.
  • 3 main ideas: Restraint. Simplicity. Naturalness.
  • Restraint: control how much info to present
  • Simplicity: design
  • Naturalness: the delivery
  • There are some Japanese characters on the slides. There are some Japanese in the audience. This may help non-English speakers.
  • A busy slide: Kanso (elimination, subtraction, omission), Fukinsei (asymmetry), Shibumi
  • Daniel Pink’s “A Whole New Mind”: Design (not only function) is one of 6 ideas.
  • Design is a powerful tool for change, not just making things beautiful.
  • Example: Al Gore – his presentation wasn’t good in the past. He worked with Duarte Design to revamp his presentation.
  • Recommended book: slide:ology
  • What does it mean to think like a designer? Read a lot, books on graphic design. What do designers know that we don’t?
  • Think like a designer – 10 tips:
  1. It’s not about the tool.
  2. Start in analog mode. Start with Post-it notes, white board, notepads, paper, NOT the computer. Even his book was started on pieces of paper stuck on the wall.
  3. Take a risk, lose the fear. “In the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities. In the expert’s mind, there are few.” – Shunryu Suzuki
  4. Look for the story. Data is important. Interpret data into a story. Harvard Business Review has an article about the same thing, ditch PowerPoint and statistics, tell the story.
  5. Put yourself in their shoes. It’s about the audience. Daniel Pink’s other idea: Play! Think about the end user.
  6. Show restraint. Inclusion and exclusion. Recommended book – “The craft of scientific presentation”
  7. Visual trumps all the senses. Photography’s rule of thirds applies to posters, too. Break up contents into several slides.
  8. Signal vs noise. High signal, low noise. Use color to emphasize. Tables are not good visual. Tables should be in handouts. Stay away from 3-D.
  9. Empty space is not nothing. It is very powerful.
  10. Learn from the lessons all around us. Read books. Look at the world around us.
  • The slides in WebEx transition much slower than he is speaking. Is it my internet connection? DSL is not good enough?
  • It does takes time to do what he talks about. But using more of our time, we will waste less of the audience’s time.
  • We are now in Q&A.
  • Question: What if my boss requires me to use a template in PowerPoint? Show scientific evidence that showing bullet points is a failure of presenting info.
  • Question: Tips on going analog? Play is not goofing around. Creativity and technology are not contradiction.
  • Question: How to provide a deliverable through the presentation? Provide a handout, not printing up slides.
  • Question: How to organize the narrative? Read books on storytelling. Create a hook. Take people on a journey. Top 10 list works. Point people to a direct and tell a story.
  • Question: Rule of thirds? Symmetry is boring. Don’t put things dead center. Image bleed off the edge. Google the rule.
  • Question: Tools transferring from analog to computer? Scan sketches. Use the images in the presentation. Photoshop is extremely useful. Element is not as good.
  • Question: Other image sources? Check his blog for links and comments provided by readers. Your own camera!
  • Question: Apply these rules to technical presentation? Interpret technical data into a story. Or provide a handout. He blogged about someone presenting alternative energy using a white board.
  • Question: Creativity tips? Shut off the computer. It’s not goofing around.
  • Question: Tips for teachers? Presenting with bullets is just death! The 10-minute rule. Talk 10 minutes and get the students involved.
  • Question: List of recommended books? He will put a post on his blog.

Okay, that’s it. Webcast is over. I don’t suppose I am one of the first 10 people registered that will receive an autographed book. I like a reward for live blogging though. ^_^


2 thoughts on “Live blogging Garr Reynolds’ webcast on Safari Books Online

  1. Nice work! I especially like the last point in number eight of the top ten: Stay away from 3D! So many people at work use 3D charts because some of our tools default to it…bugs the crap out of me!

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