In my office we have this monthly internal learning exercise where one person gives a presentation on something they are good at or, at least, know something about. It’s meant as a way for the presenter to share their knowledge with colleagues and to bring the team together for an hour to have some fun and hopefully learn something. It’s really a great innovation in our office, introduced by our newish director (she’s been with us about a year now), Corina De Guire.
Given our branch structure, I fall into the Creative Services group, which includes multimedia and web, graphic design and our distribution units. The effort from our group so far have been great, with a lot of work being put into the presentations, complete with fantastic takeaways. Recent presentations included a Photoshop tutorial, a presentation on digital photography resolution and its impact on print production, and one on colour theory. While the entire team (mostly) works with Adobe Creative Suite and we all share varying degrees of knowledge and expertise in matters of design, it’s remarkable how much you realize there still is to learn.
In a month it will be my turn to present, and the topic I’ve chosen is presentations. I’m excited by my topic because presentations and their design are a big interest of mine, and because over the last few years I’ve given a lot of them.
I won’t be dealing with the tools so much, like PowerPoint, but on what makes a good presentation. Somebody I feel a distinct connection with when it comes to this topic is presentation guru Garr Reynolds. Through his Presentation Zen blog and his recent book by the same name–which is fantastic, by the way–I’ve learned a lot and fine tuned my own design sensibilities. As a communicator, when presenting information–whether by slide, web page, text, image, etc.–it’s important to get the message across as effectively (and elegantly, in my opinion) as possible. Good design isn’t easy–no matter what some folks might say–but it matters. In fact, when we take design for granted is when we know we’ve likely stumbled upon something good.
I haven’t yet determined the specifics of my presentation, but I have to admit to feeling a little nervous with my topic. Since my topic is about something I will actually be up doing, I feel that the scrutiny might be a little more intense! Who knows. Anyway, I’m almost tempted to just play Garr’s recent GoogleTalks presentation (see the video below) where he pretty much says it all. It’s well worth watching the entire thing.