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Gates, Jobs, & the Zen Aesthetic

The following are some excerpts from Garr Reynold’s Presentation Zen blog.

An article that examines the two contrasting visual approaches employed by Gates and Jobs in their presentations while keeping key aesthetic concepts found in Zen in mind.

Above. Does it get more “Zen” than this? “Visual-Zen Master,” Steve Jobs, allows the screen to fade completely empty at appropriate, short moments while he tells his story. In a great jazz performance much of the real power of the music comes from the spaces in between the notes. The silence gives more substance and meaning to the notes. A blank screen from time to time also makes images stronger when they do appear.

Also, it takes a confident person to design for the placement of empty slides. This is truly “going naked” visually. For most presenters a crowded slide is a crutch, or at least a security blanket. The thought of allowing the screen to become completely empty is scaring. Now all eyes are on you.

Above. Gates here explaining the Live strategy. A lot of images and a lot of text. Usually Mr. Gates’ slides have titles rather than more effective short declarative statements (this slide has neither). Good graphic design guides the viewer and has a clear hierarchy or order so that she knows where to look first, second, and so on. What is the communication priority of this visual? It must be the circle of clip art, but that does not help me much.

Seven Lessons from the bath


So what can we learn from the Japanese bath as it relates to communication and presentation? How is a Japanese bath like a presentation. Visit the Presentation Zen website to view seven ways.

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