2008
Jul 14

I have created my second entry into the SlideShare.net "World’s Best Presentation Contest‘.

 

 

This entry is a high level overview of why virtualization is the hottest market in IT today. Of course, such a presentation could easily be 200 slides to cover all the relevant reasons to why virtualization gets so much buzz. I chose to focus on the primary points, and keep the overall presentation very high level. I kept my focus on my ultimate result and the audience (which is a very wide range of people, many of whom are not in the tech industry).

 

 

 


 

 


 (Viewed best in full screen mode. You can download a complete version of the presentation in pdf format here. Licensed under Creative Commons Non-Commercial -Share Alike 3.0.)

 

 

 

Here are a  few notes on the creation of this deck and the choices I made in creating the slides. I have found that a review of my thought process in any type of communication helps me improve a great deal in the future.

 

 

 

 First, the choice of the title "The Buzz on Virtualization". My opening to a presentation is typically based on a relevant story or metaphor.  A metaphor or story gives your audience a way to relate to the information in a personal manner, and is much more accessible to a diverse audience.

 

In this presentation I decided to use the "Buzz" metaphor for all the interest in virtualization. I like this metaphor because it evokes the sound of "buzz" and the picture of a bee. If I were presenting this in person, I would add in a sound effect of bees buzzing to the title slide. Whenever possible I try to appeal to multiple senses throughout a presentation, both in the metaphors I choose and the visuals used inside the slides. The widens the appeal to a broader range of people by capturing the interest of visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners.

 

On each section title slide I added in a picture of a single isolated bee to tie back to the theme of the buzz around virtualization. I also used the opening question again the conclusion. This is a very common structure for a speech or presentation. I have found success in tying in the opening at key points during the presentation and closing the loop at the end.

 

I used graphics extensively (with stock photos from iStockPhoto.com and Sxc.hu among others)  through out the deck. I minimized the amount of text per slide and used the "rule of thirds" (from Garr Reynolds "Presentation Zen" ) whenever possible.  Garr’s book is an essential resource to anyone who regularly builds slide presentations.

 

The primary font used is Arial black, a san serif based font. San serif fonts are much more readable on a presentation than serif fonts. Green is the primary font color. There are two reason I selected green. First, "going green" is a popular idea inside IT today. "Going green" is about reducing carbon emmisions and energy use, and aligns well with the idea of reducing energy costs with virtualization. Another image evoked by "green" is money. Since ultimately the biggest initial driver of virtualization in any company is saving money, I decided green was very appropriate for the font color.

 

The back ground I chose for this deck is black. All of the early drafts of this deck had a white background. That is the corporate standard at my company and one with which I am most familar. Most of the stock photos I used for the deck are isolated on a white background, so that was a natural choice. Garr and many others recommend a black background with a light colored font. I resisted this initially due to my familiarity with the white background and the stock photos. I have used black before but I was reluctant to in this case because of the difficult in editing th white background of the images.

 

I changed my mind after a trip to the grocery store this weekend. I saw a woman wearing a "Coke" t-shirt. The shirt was black the "enjoy Coke" on the front. "Coke" was in bright white letters and each letter of "enjoy" in a different light color (orange, light red, pink, etc…).  As soon as I saw the shirt I began to pay more attention to advertisements and other shirts I saw while I walked in the store. I found that the most compelling ads and shirts all had dark backgrounds and lightly colored text. By the time I got home I decided to change to the background.

 

 

I think this slide presentation communicates the message very well. I also feel that the content is much more memorable in this format than the typically text and bullet heavy format of most presentations in the software industry. It will be interesting to see what response (if any) this slide presentation receives from the extremely diverse audience at slideshare.net.

 

 

Please post feedback in the comments.

 

 

 

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World’s Best Presentation Contest – Part II

Posted by Barry Flanagan on Jul 13th, 2008
2008
Jul 13

 

The response to my first entry into the SlideShare.net "World’s Best Presentation Contest‘ has been very good. There are a lot of great presentations in this contest (and quite a few bad ones as well).

 

I found several great presentations on presentation design. Here is an excellent presentation on "Presenting with Text".

 

 

This presentation does a fantastic job of demonstrating how you can use text and the many font choices within PowerPoint and Keynote to deliver a much more dramatic presentation.

 

 

 

 

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Build a Memory Palace to Lose the Crutch – Part VI

Posted by Barry Flanagan on Jun 25th, 2008
2008
Jun 25

(Read the earlier posts in this series here, here, here , here and here.)

 

 

The next video on the memory palace technique comes from MemoryConsulting.com . In this short video, James Jorasch and Chris Harwood go through an example of using the memory palace technique to memorizing the key point of a speech on global warming. Chris and James use the name "Roman Room" instead of memory palace, an alternate name based on the popularity of this technique with ancient Roman orators.

 

 


[flashvideo filename=http://memoryconsulting.com/flv/RomanRoom.flv /]


 

 

In the second video,James  and Chris review the link method. This is also good review of creating vivid, outrageous multi-sensory action scenes. I use this technique for memory points of a presentation as well, and sometimes combine the memory palace and link method together.

 

 


[flashvideo filename=http://memoryconsulting.com/flv/LinkSystem.flv /]


 

 

 

 

 

 

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Build a Memory Palace to Lose the Crutch – Part V

Posted by Barry Flanagan on Jun 22nd, 2008
2008
Jun 22

(Read the earlier posts in this series here, here, here and here.)

 

 

Next up in this series are two videos with Andi Bell (three time World Memory Champion) from the BBC program "How to Improve Your Memory".

 

 

In this first video, Bell memorizes the order of 20 decks of cards in ten minutes. He then shows how he encodes the card by translating them into characters, then stores the images in a memory journey around London.

 

 


[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-xl7_hdWZo]

 


 

In this second video, Bell teaches the host of "How to Improve Your Memory" how to create his own memory palace out of his home.

 


 

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NROegsMqNc]

 


 

This second video shows how really simple the technique of creating a memory palace out of home or memory journey out of a path through town is very simple to do. Remembering the locations is the easy part for most people. Learning to quickly create vivid, bizarre images can take a bit of practice.

 

Take a recent presentation you built. Write down the opening statement, the three main points ( and examples for each) and the closing statement. Now create a memory palace. For this exercise, I suggest using your home. Start your path in your bedroom, then work a path through the entire home until you have eight spots for your memory palace. Use halls, bathrooms and closets if necessary. For now, only store one vivid image scene in each location.

 

Next, work on creating a vivid, bizarre action scene for the opening and closing statement, and one for each of your three main points and three examples. Each of these colorful action scenes should include sounds and a  powerful smell or taste as well.

 

 

Try it out. Please post your results and thoughts on the experience in the comments.

 

 

More video examples to come…

 

 

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Build a Memory Palace to Lose the Crutch – Part IV

Posted by Barry Flanagan on Jun 21st, 2008
2008
Jun 21

(Read the earlier posts in this series here, here and here.)

 

 

Dominic O’Brien is an eight time world memory champion. He has authored numerous books on memory, and is one of several internationally recognized memory experts. His book  "How to Develop a Perfect Memory" is his most comprehensive resource on the technique he has developed. Unfortunately, this book is long out of print. Used copies at used book stores and ebay have sold for as high as $140.

 

 

O’brien does an excellent job of explaining and demonstrating mnemonic techniques. I found a very brief video that explains a variation of the memory palace ( or as he calls it, the memory journey).

 

 


[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCuQ_14R4bI]

 


In this video excerpt, O’brien creates a memory journey specifically for the story instead of using one from his own experience. He weaves the numbers into the memory journey (39 steps in the tower, and uses associations from his own experience ("When I Turn 64", 10 Downing Street). He also uses a lot of action (turning the key, opening the door, climbing the steps, blair carried away by the swan). He ties in visuals, sound (a Beatles song) and bizarre action (the swan carrying away Tony Blair). In just a few minutes, O’brien deomstrates hwo easy it is to rapidly memorize a 9 digit number like 213964102.

 

 

The key to using this method is practice. You need to practice finding and using memory palaces, creating images to encode the information, and make those images both multi-sensory and outrageous. As Dominc ‘Obrien demostrates in this video, one you train your mind to learn each step of the porcess, it is very easy to recall obscure and abstract information.

 

 

I have several more example videos I will post in upcoming entries in this series.

 

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