Presentation Novice to Student of Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds

A library is a great place to check out books. Not only can you check them out to read, you can check them out before you eventually buy.

Such is the case for me with Presentation Zen 2nd Edition revised and updated by Garr Reynolds. I read the 1st edition as a checked out book from the library a few years ago. I had been to a conference and had been amazed by the presentations. Instead of death by power point, I became a visual learner. Even more I became an engaged advocate. I wanted to begin to learn how to create presentations that brought people to life and action. I am in the resurrection business.

I began to apply such lessons in mid-week Lenten Bible studies. Screen down, notes to take, pictures and Bible verses to show. I have done that for a few years seeking to apply in that 6 week window annually the lessons I learned from Presentation Zen 1st Edition.

After this year’s mid-week Lenten experience, one of our members / visual learners, told me that she engaged more with what I was teaching to the use of visuals. She’s an artist and I had incorporated a few famous paintings along the way as well as pictures from every day life. She suggested I apply that appeal to visual learners on weekend messages. So this summer that’s what I began to do.

I realized I had not been trained for this. I looked for books on preaching and presentations, and none were to be found or at least none found by me.

This time instead of checking out Presentation Zen I bought my own copy from Amazon. One I could mark up, read and re-read. I can’t tell you the specific differences between edition 1 and edition 2 except there seemed to be a bit more depth and mroe examples.

While I love Garr’s own insights, I appreciate his willingness to include others. Guy Kuwasaki writes or presents the perfect foreword or perhaps now its forepicture of Presentation Zen. Seth Godin. Nancy Duarte and others along with Garr gives the best practices / best picture view of presentations.

Garr’s insights are simple ideas on presentation design and delivery. Most importantly he taught me to think through first the message i want to share and the response I seek, even before I look for the pictures I want to show.

And when picture time comes, rule of thumb is no more than 6 words per slide. Once you embrace this rule, it makes it tough to watch presentations with more than 16 words per slide and not muttering under your breath, “Death by Powerpoint”.

In addition to Garr’s book, I’ve picked up a few others. I am still seeking to learn a new style and there have been some mistakes along the way.

Last week’s challenge was though someone had been kind enough to turn the computer on and load up media shout, the projector had not been turned on. Since in that service my only message prompts are the slides and not a manuscript, it made for a potential interesting message. Fortunately one wiser than I figured out the issue and cranked the projector on and the learning could begin.

It is said a big is worth a thousand words. Perhaps even better is the power of focus that a thousand word picture can bring. Back in June when preaching on Psalm 8 and the majesty of God’s creation, the power of Hubble telescope pictures captured the incredible beauty of the universe more than my limited superlatives could bring. Awe Seen + Awe Spoken = Praise Filled Awe for our incredible God.

So on this journey toward learning how to make presentations, I invite you to join me and teach me. Together may we learn how to present the truths of who God is and what God is doing so that lives are transformed now and  for eternity. Because when it comes to death, I’d rather die for my purpose than by my powerpoint. Death by Chocolate gets a vote, too! Got any tips for this novice learning presentation preaching?



Filed under Presentations

2 responses to “Presentation Novice to Student of Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds

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