1-1-1 Express Book Review – “Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery” by Garr Reynolds

June 9th, 2008 Karine Joly 5 Comments

A quick look at the calendar of Higher Ed Conferences and Events I maintain, and you know it’s conference time.

Most of you will get a chance in the next few weeks to attend a conference, and listen to dozens of presentations and panel discussions.

As you might know if you’re a regular reader, I’ll be presenting the closing keynote at eduWeb in Atlantic City in July (just 7 weeks to go).

This will be my first keynote – and hopefully not the last one, so I’m just a tiny bit more nervous than I usually am before a presentation, but shhhht! – don’t tell anybody ;-)

Anyway, that’s what prompted me to buy and read “Presentation Zen,” the companion book of THE website about presenting today: www.presentationzen.com.

Here’s my 1-1-1 Express Book Review (See what’s a 1-1-1 Express Book Review) for “Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery (Voices That Matter) by Garr Reynolds:

1 thing I liked:
I don’t know if this can be explained by the “zen thing,” but my stress level went down quite a bit after reading it. In this book beautiful illustrated with pictures from istockphoto.com/presentationzen, Reynolds reminds us of something speakers tend to forget: presentations are about sharing something you know and trying to make a difference with that knowledge for the attendees.

1 thing I didn’t like that much:
I understand this is a very important point (upcoming pun intended), but I wish Reynolds spent a little bit less time on explaining why Powerpoint (as well as Keynote) and bullet points are evil. When it comes to presentations, I usually don’t totally kill the audience with bullet points, but I still use them. I’m not saying they’re good and I understand why they are bad. But, at the beginning of the book, I was getting tired of the “preaching.”

1 big take-away from the book:
You can find the big take-away of this book on page 61 with a series of 12 questions you should be asking yourself as a presenter when you’re planning your session.

The 12th is the most important one:

“What is my absolutely central point?”

“If the audience could remember only one thing (and you’ll be lucky if they do), what do you want it to be?

Simple, yet so easy to forget…


I know that many of you give presentations on a regular basis.
Tell us your top 3 tips for a successful one by posting a comment!

Never been a presenter, but suffered a lot as an attendee?
Tell us what should absolutely be avoided.