10 Years of Presentation Zen

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Time is a funny thing. It can both feel short and long at the same, well, time.

The reason for this tiny bit of philosophy is the fact that Garr Reynolds' Presentation Zen Blog is turning 10 years this month. "Has it really been that long?", I ask myself. And then I notice that it was only 4 years ago that I first met Garr in person.

Presentation Zen Studio 2014

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Storytelling is an important part of any presentation. There's also quite a hype around storytelling these days; you see it used in all sorts of environments, from advertising to branding your own company. On the one hand, that's a good thing, since it shows that storytelling is on to something - it works. On the other hand, the hype could potentially cause people to turn away from it or ignore it, assuming that, as so many things that have been hyped before, it will be dead and replaced with something else in a few months.

Storytelling was also the main topic of the Presentation Zen Studio in Paris this year; but the participants agreed that there's more to it than just a hype. Storytelling is, in fact, a very very old technique and it won't become irrelevant anytime soon, even if (or once) the hype machine moves on.

Announcement: Yours truly at the Speak like a Pro virtual conference

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Back in April, I did an interview with Jenny Blake over Skype. It's part of a series of interviews with speaking professionals that will air in the week of August 25 under the name of the Speak like a Pro virtual conference. You can watch the 25 interviews for free during that week or purchase the set later.

I'm tempted to write "24 speaking professionals plus yours truly", because really the line-up is somewhat humbling. It includes several of the people that I've learned much of what I know from, including Nancy Duarte, Pam Slim, and Susan Weinschenk. I'm also happy to point out that the lineup includes a friend of mine, surgeon Ross Fisher, who gave a great talk at TEDxStuttgart back in November 2013.

5 More Pitching Observations

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In my ongoing exploration of the local startup scene, I got to watch yet another pitching contest. In this case, it was sort of a relegation round as part of a series of pitching events: Those startups who won the audience vote in previous contests but did not win the actual contest were given another chance. So we got to see pitches from teams that had been through all this before.

Handling technical problems, Hans Rosling style

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Since I just discussed rehearsing too much: Hans Rosling is a speaker who is known to rehearse thoroughly. But even he is not immune to technical problems.

At TED Salon Berlin, the first official TED event in Germany, he was one of the most famous people on the list of speakers, so the audience waited for him with some anticipation. And then, only a few seconds into his talk, he ran into technical problems.