Zen and the art of bicyclesJuly 16, 2009
I’m in Singapore for a meeting on malaria research, and I just finished a book my boss brought with him: Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds. It’s about how to give effective presentations (e.g., with PowerPoint slides) and is full of good advice (much of which is also available online at presentationzen.com). Garr is the Roger Ebert of slide-show reviewers: even when you disagree with him, his arguments are expressed clearly and worth considering.
Many of Garr’s tips relate to his advocacy of simplicity, compelling images, and succinct storytelling. As I flipped through the chapter on sample slides, I realized that his examples sort of reminded me of some slides I had made recently — not for a science talk, but for two picture books for and about my son: The Wheels On The Bike and If You Give Phil A Cookie.
It would not be completely accurate to summarize Garr’s advice as, “Design your slides as if they were pages from a children’s picture book.” But I don’t think that’s way off the mark, either.