Presentation Zen

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There is an old saying that says, "the reason we can see so far is because we stand upon the shoulders of giants."

In other words, we owe so much of our knowledge and ideas to the countless teachers and gurus we learn from over the course of our lives.

It’d be impossible to write a blog about presentations without acknowledging one of the leading presentation experts in the world today, Garr Reynolds. If you are interested in presentation design theory and haven’t heard of Presentation Zen, it’s time you do.

Garr started writing the Presentation Zen blog back in 2005 as a way to regularly communicate his thoughts about presentations and design to the world. Today, it is one of the most popular and influential presentation resources out there.

Living in Osaka, Japan, Garr has an insightful take on presentation design and delivery that is strongly influenced by Japanese culture and the principles of zen philosophy. A few of my favorite Presentation Zen blog entries are: Gates, Jobs, and the Zen Aesthetic, Who says we need our logo on every slide?, Bill Gates and Visual Complexity, and Yoda vs Darth Vader.

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Garr spent the past year consolidating several of the best ideas from his blog into the Presentation Zen book (available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble). Bearing no resemblance to your typical how-to manual for PowerPoint software, the Presentation Zen book is a much deeper exploration into the theory behind presentation design and delivery. As Garr describes it, it is "an approach".

Garr really went the extra mile designing the book’s layout, so it as enjoyable to look at as it is to read. If you're someone who ever gives presentations, you should definitely pick this one up.

These days the Presentation Zen blog is still going strong, with insightful new content being posted regularly. Check it out, I know you won't be disappointed.

Below you can see a talk Garr recently gave at Google’s California headquarters. I think it’s an excellent presentation that gives a thorough overview of the Presentation Zen approach.

As you watch, pay particular attention to the way Garr keeps his audience involved throughout the entire presentation and utilizes his slides as backdrops to his conversational storytelling. Enjoy!