Our CoETaIL leaders (aka: Kim Cofino & Jeff Utecht) have asked us to reflect on a presentation we have created in the past looking at how we would implement new visual presentation techniques to better communicate your message to your audience.

One of the best books I bought over the “Summer” break was Garr Reynolds‘ book,  presentationzen Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery. It’s an informative read and is full of ideas, reasons and ways to ensure that you’re not contributing scores of to the “Death by Powerpoint” group!

My favourite new term is slideument – a cross between a slide and a document.  I know I’ve been guilty of a few “slideuments” in my time!

Marketing guru and presenter extraordinaire, Seth Godin, contributes to presentationzen with the idea that

communication is the transfer of emotion

He says you can improve your presentation immediately by:

Making slides that reinforce your words, not repeat them.  These slides should demonstrate, with emotional proof, that what you’re saying is true not just accurate.  No more than six words on a slide. EVER.

Don’t use cheesy images. Use professional stock photo images.

No dissolves, spins or other transitions. Keep it simple.

Create a written document. A leave-behind.  Put in as many footnotes as you like. Tell the audience that you’re going to five them all the details of your presentation after it’s over, & they don’t have to write down everything you say. DON’T hand out printouts of your slides.  They don’t work without you there.

I’ve been trying to use presentationzen during the writer’s workshop mini-lesson for my Grade 5 students.  I’m hoping that the visual images will help to stimulate creativity and emotion.  I did think that my slides were presentationzen – after reading the above message from Seth Godin, I’ve discovered that they’re weren’t quite there yet.  I had transitions still, the slides repeated my words, not reinforced them and some had more than six words!

I’ve come to the realisation that the words are on the slides for me, rather than the students, and this is a direct reflection of how much I am still not comfortable with the writing workshop mini-lessons from Lucy Calkins.  I’m using her words, her ideas and I haven’t yet managed to formulate my own words and ideas about teaching writing workshop style mini-lessons.  (but now I digress ……).  Below is a sample of a “before” page and then an “after” page.

Apart from the last suggestion from Seth Godin about creating a writing document (which I guess we do in a way when we hang reminder charts everywhere in the classroom for writing and reading) – I think I’ll definitely stick to the other suggestions.

I accidentally deleted my images in skitch when it switched to Evernote – not realising that this would affect a lot of images embedded in my blog posts (silly me!)  I’m currently looking to see if I can replace these images – it’s taking a while and some I know I won’t be able to replicate – sorry about that! 

Garr Reynolds believes

One of the most important things you can do in the initial stage of preparing for your presentation is to get away from your computer.

My planning has always taken place at the computer, so I’m willing to give this a go to see if it helps me be more true to the presentationzen ideal. I’ll also be asking myself his two questions as I prepare my next presentations:

What’s your point?

Why does it matter?