Garr Reynold's Zen of Presentation: Why it Matters Now More than Ever

From the moment Garr Reynolds literally jumped on state, the audience was laughing. The laughter didn’t stop for the whole hour. This guy knows how to present! His pace was quick, maybe 5 seconds or less per slide and his delivery was engaging and interactive. He could have just as easily been a standup comedian.

Tip #1 – keep it moving.

“PowerPoint slides are like children. No matter how ugly they are, they’re beautiful if they’re yours.” - Dilbert

Garr immediately hits the nail on the head. PowerPoint is boring! And to drive the point home further, he asks the audience to work together and make a list of both good and bad presentations they’ve seen.

Tip #2 – involve the audience.

He highly recommends visiting the site where there are great presentations on video.

He continues in his energetic style to explain more about why typical presentations are boring or even dangerous. Using the example from Tufte’s book where a slide was used in place of a report, detail was buried on a slide that led to the shuttle disaster. In addition, he brings up people that read their slides
like a teleprompter and offers Guy Kawasaki’s commentary, “If you have to read your slides, you are a bozo!”

Tip #3 – know your stuff

Somewhere along the way, the creativity we had as children gets lost. He says we don’t take the risks we used to. To demonstrate that, he asks each person to draw someone at their table but don’t show anyone. Then he has them give that picture to the person they drew. What an awkward, embarrassing thing! You heard several apologies. Garr then points out that we used to give our parents pictures we drew but never apologized for them. Tip#4 – take risks. He recommends a couple books including Nancy Duarte’s Slide:ology and John Medina’s Brain Rules, which is also available in summarized form on He also likes Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind.

Along the same lines, Garr asks the audience to think like designers. He says it’s not about the tool and recommends another book called The Designful Company by Marty Neumeir. He leaves us with this quote from Shunru Suzuki, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities but in the experts mind there are few.”
So much to learn!