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Last week the Microsoft Silicon Valley Campus was fortunate to host Presentation Zen blogger and author Garr Reynolds.
Garr presented on the origins of the Presentation Zen philosophy and style; how to bring Zen simplicity and clarity to your communications.
The Presentation Zen style is a very accessible and effective set of guidance and references for making your communications engaging and effective. Amazingly popular just five months after its publication, the book Presentation Zen has secured a number one position in Amazon’s Business, Communications, and Meetings & Presentations categories. The Presentation Zen blog continues a regular update of these concepts and comments on the general state of presentations and communications in business, education, and politics.
Both the book and blog are highly recommended.
We really scrambled back in March to get Garr in for a private presentation for the Windows and Macintosh PowerPoint teams, unfortunately there had not been enough lead time to throw the invitation open to the whole campus. Garr wrote about that experience with the PowerPoint team in his blog.
But this time we had plenty of warning, and opened the invitation to the whole Silicon Valley Campus. Garr had scheduled a trip in the States from his home in Japan, with an extended stay in the Silicon Valley. Microsoft employees really showed their interest in Garr's messages. We pretty much filled the main auditorium here at lunch time. Again, you can read about his take in a recent PZ blog entry. If you'd like to watch Garr tell the Presentation Zen story, you can watch a recording of his March visit to Google (just down the road from the SVC.)
Note on this second photograph. If you look closely Garr may appear to have lost the audience's attention. But they're actually responding to his request that they take a moment to discuss what good and bad presentations they've seen in the past. The audience reaction was huge, so much discussion, hand-waving, and laughter! Check out the video as well...
There's already a podcast available of my first visit with Garr from the beginning of this year. That recording features commentary from Nancy Duarte and Howard Cooperstein. You can listen to it here. We took Garr's latest visit as an opportunity to record a second session that will be available soon. Great evening, discussion revolved around the serious issues of audiences, humor and why presentations are like stand-up comedy.
Thanks again Garr!
Thanks Ric. Had a great time. Can't wait to hear the podcast -- that was fun. Wonderful people and buzz at the SVC of Microsoft! :-)
I was wondering how you would adjust presentation delivery when using video conferencing, a medium that requires you to limit physical movement (not walking around)?
The constant focusing and refocusing of the camera when the speaker moves can cause a sense of motion sickness at the remote location receiving the video conference stream.
The answer is part of a larger topic I've been wanting to cover somewhere; general stage management and use. But to answer your specific issue, I think you've made part of the question self-evident. That is that panning and refocusing are tricky things to do unless you've got a professional on staff. When done well, the pan usually zooms into the moving presenter, they're taking emphasis away from the visuals at this point anyway, and by zooming in there's less disorienting background zipping by. Focus must be maintained, losing focus makes us aware that we're viewing this via camera, takes us "out of the moment." Just shouldn't happen. One of the best ways to cover this is to have several cameras and a producer who can switch between them as needed. There's usually one or two set wide shots, and perhaps one or two hand helds, which are simply mobile fixed units, not typically used for panning. Of course many of us are in this position without the support of a staff, so the answer is simply that you must choose. Are you going to be a talking head, superimposed over a corner of the presentation, or will you let your presentation define your stage, a fixed boundary that you move within? The latter is probably the most natural feeling. But, as I said, this is just a brief summary. If you're looking for good, inspiring examples of stage and camera use, I'd suggest you check out the videos from the TED conference for examples of good camera work. http:http://www.ted.com. Of course, there's plenty of other ideas and techniques to mine from the TED conference. Cheers,
Before Garr presented he asked his readers for questions/comments to pose to the PPT team. Since I did not attend the event and have not seen the podcast I am curious if my question was addressed. Is there a reason why you do not make PPT the top app when in presentation mode? I cannot understand how/why you can allow popups to appear when PPT is in show mode. Am I the only person this is an issue to? bruce
Yes, Garr made a point about talking about the issues he got from readers and presented a few. Not sure if the Pop-Up question was covered during that meeting, I'm assuming that was the question you were concerned about? The question of pop-ups over the presentation is an interesting one. We've done a bit of work but the "right thing" to do is not always clear-cut. For example, several types of "pop-overs" arguably shouldn't be suppressed. Virus checkers probably should be allowed. Laptop battery low power notifications are another that as a presenter you'd want to see. In the last few releases we've done work to suppress Outlook messages that come up previewing mail as it arrives, as well as MSN Messenger pop-up messages. We're not saying the situation is wholly under control by any means. Internally we discuss handling message pop-ups during PowerPoint presentations as "whack-a-mole." Still, the best advice I could give a presenter would be to simply turn off messenger and mail applications before starting a presentation. It's simple and sure. Thanks,
For those of use that actually use PPT for large event work, maybe you should consider an option to make it the top app... rather than you deciding what is important for us to see. I work on very large scale events and the popup is huge. Further, when we have the CEO of a large corporation and the dialog boxes popup not only does it reflect on us, it reflects on you.
I meant to say I work on large scale events and the popup issue is a huge issue. :c) I'm actually on one now.