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Preparation, design and delivey December 9, 2009

Posted by Ignacio Larrain in Presentation Zen.

Presentation Zen is a very colorful book. It has several examples on how to apply the concepts that are presented making it dynamic and easy to assimilate.

The idea is that behind every good presentation there is a process, made up of three major stages: Preparation, Design and Delivery . This process requires specific tools on each stage. If we fail in any one of these stages, then the whole presentation is in danger.

Here are a couple of interesting takeaways from each step:


The idea is to focus on three questions to drive the flow of the presentation.

  • What is the main point of the presentation?
  • Why does it matter to the audience?
  • If the audience will remember only one thing, what should it be?

Some concepts that help in this stage are:

  • Get back to see the big picture
  • Go analog: get away from the computer and take time to think
  • Do not be afraid of restrictions, they can help you stick to the core messages
  • Keep it simple
  • Think of examples and stories
  • Play with people’s emotions


Keep presentations simple by reducing the non-essentials. Also, pursue grace, elegance and subtlety.

The following is a list of principles and techniques that can be applied for these purposes:

  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio: A higher ratio means communicating clearly with as little degradation to the message as possible. Degradation can occur when we use inappropriate charts, ambiguous labels and icons, emphasize items such as lines, shapes and symbols that do not play a key role in supporting the message.
  • Picture Superiority Effect: Use images! And be thoughtful that those images are of good quality and related to the core message.
  • Empty Space: Do not feel the urge to fill empty spaces in a slide. Empty space implies elegance and clarity, and it can convey a feeling of high quality, sophistication, and importance.
  • The big four: Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, and Proximity. These principles speak for themselves and are very effective in the design step.


For this stage there are three main things we have to acknowledge:

  • Be in full presence when presenting, as if you were in a conversation
  • Mistakes may happen – just leave them behind
  • PREPARE: it is the only way to gain confidence and to look easy and natural


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