Thinking About DesignJanuary 6, 2010 Leave a comment
I’ve spent a fair amount of time these last few days exploring the book Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery by Garr Reynolds. It’s an amazing book – and he spends quite a bit of time teaching about how to avoid “Death by PowerPoint.” I’m totally intrigued – and want to rethink (and perhaps more importantly, re-imagine and mess around with) some of the many ways we get information across in presentations – and in the written recordings we make of meetings.
Reynolds rightfully shows that what we do in PowerPoint is often driven by the software itself, rather than by thinking through the most important aspect of the idea we’re trying to get across. We follow the template and create slide after slide of bulleted lists of text that say what we’re already saying. But here’s the question: what is the most important thing we are trying to say? And how can we work with images to bring our words to life?
I want to drop the bullet-lists of ideas in all the rather boring (but so-called professional looking) PowerPoint presentations I’ve created – and rather than starting in the space of trying to get across information, start in the place of design. I want to work with others to design an experience of the essence of the thing we’re trying to get across. I know it will take time to learn how to do this – to, as Reynolds describes, get still enough and open to creativity enough to create an experience – to learn to play more in getting ideas across – to learn to tap into other ways of knowing. And I’m excited to try!
So there’s Pecha Kucha. And there’s An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore’s famous Keynote presentation about Climate Change. And all the TED talks.? I’m planning to pay more attention to the visuals that excite and engage as I go through my day. I’m more and more drawn to the amazing work of people like Dan Jumanan at Visual Ink – who can bring discussions of foreign policy to life through visual, graphic recording.
And I wonder – what “draws” you to a presentation?