What do you do when Garr Reynolds, author of Presentation Zen, is paying Europe one of his rare visits - and you don't really have the time to organise a seminar (like in previous years)? You get a small crowd of presentation enthusiasts and Garr Reynolds fans together, assemble them in one of the nicest locations in Paris and see what happens.
Which is - more or less - how Presentation Zen Studio came about. 20 people, including Garr and the Ideas on Stage team, assembled in a kitchen(!) of the fancy restaurant and chocolaterie Un Dimanche à Paris and talked about presentations for an afternoon.
Everybody was invited to give a short presentation themselves; a chance that about 8 or so took up. Which resulted in a mix of presentation styles and topics that were both interesting and inspiring. Each speaker got some feedback on their presentation afterwards - an invaluable opportunity, given that some of the best presenters and presentation experts were in the room!
Garr himself gave an abbreviated version of his lessons from the bamboo (2 lessons instead of 11), which started with some very personal memories. The open, "anything goes" atmosphere allowed others to talk about their favourite topics or experiment with new tools (ever thought about using iBooks Author for a presentation?).
Yours truly participated with giving What's our Status? (slides, write-up) in front of a mostly non-geek audience for the first time. It seemed to go over well - I only needed to explain what Jenkins is; the rest of the talk is more about data visualisation anyway. Thanks for the feedback, everybody!
You may think that without any real agenda, the afternoon would be somewhat chaotic, but it did all feel quite natural. Of course, we're all professionals (in one way or another). In addition to self-discipline, we're all honestly interested in learning from others so we can get better ourselves. That certainly helped keep things on track. We did go over time, but that was to be expected once it was clear how many actually wanted to present.
All in all, it was a great event. I know that I learned a little bit from everyone who presented, even if I can't put it into words. Oh, and the food was excellent, as always in this place. So thanks to Garr and Ideas on Stage for trying this little experiment and to everyone who participated. We should do this more often!
Phil Waknell posted some more photos from the afternoon.
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