Präsentieren bedeutet, mit Menschen zu sprechen.

Monat: Januar, 2011

Fishing for colors #2


This long winter does need a bit of fresh color, and I find myself going astray from my usual preferences for a thousand shades of grey and pondering over some red and green from last year’s apples.

This list of tools by allwebdesignresources.com I just stumbled upon must be the most complete list of color related sites I have come across, ever. It might intimidate you at first, as all long lists tend to, but it is well worth the visit. It is a little dated (2008), admittedly, but that does not make it any worse.

Recently I listed a few color websites here as a starting point for creating color schemes for your presentations.

What works fastest for me personally, is using Adobe Ideas for iPod.

  • Choose a pic
  • Choose the colors
  • Save the color palette
  • Scribble on


Later I often just use DigitalColor Meter for Mac to read out any color values.



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Technically speaking

Don’t how how to best put text on your technical drawings without creating visual and semantic noise?

Extremely useful article on callouts and explanatory text on visuals on I’d rather be writing.

Via Chris Atherton.


I have just evaluated and graded some 20+ presentation exams, a few more to come next week. This is a busy time of year and a good time to rethink what works, and what does not.

Paper works.

During the planning stage of a talk, I love to use long strips of card board, those good old-fashioned Metaplan strips.


»This has saved my life,« one of my students said today.

She is talented and smart, and tends to get lost in enthusiasm and ideas. A real Miss What’s-the-Point. In our pre-finals coaching we talked about choreography, beginnings, and endings. And planning on paper.

In her final talk, she is precise, to the point, yet has lost nothing of her vivid self. It is a pleasure listening.

Plan analog. Plan analog. Plan analog.


I still plan every class, every seminar, every workshop that way, and as no one but yourself will ever see this, it does not matter what code you use, and if you mix up your languages, as I tend to. So for all my international readers: Bild means Image.

Green is for reserve ideas. As a young teacher I had to learn that by heart the hard way: You need a didactic reserve.  

[And boy, did I need one that day, back in 1989, during my teacher practice. I was teaching Medieval lyrics to a bunch of 16-year-olds and I just did not know how to go on and had to hand over to my supervisor.]

That was the day I learned to believe in reserves and back-ups. Some 20 years later I also believe in experience and creative thinking, but then that trust is nothing but another kind of hard-earned reserve.

So: Have another video, another game, another question up your sleeve. A reserve can be anything. It can be a flip chart in case the projector dies or if a video does not play. It can be going for coffee with your class if it is too hot to think.

Plan backwards.


Good stories need good endings. Endings, on the other hand, are nervous, twitching cat tails with a life of their own.

So plan backwards: Where do you want your audience to be in 20 minutes? With you? Or gone for a mental walk? If your ending is wrong, you will need to start all over again.

Make ends meet.


Make sure your beginning and ending is connected, related, one of a kind: Start with a question and end with an answer. Start with a problem and show the solution. Start with a quote and end on a counter-quote. There is always a counter-quote. You might even begin and end in silence. Have you ever tried that? Silence is a lovely shade of white…

Whatever you do, make sure your presentation is a whole, not a bag of wildly twitching ideas.

Connect. In all possible ways.

Connect ideas. Connect words and images. Connect with your audience. And not just because your teacher told you so.

Grades are for college. Connection is for real.

Switch over, if you please


It is 2011, and there are many hundreds of presentation blogs around by now, and many new voices, and now and then all these voices in Presentation Land can be as blatantly noisy as else where: Choose me! Follow me!

But there are different voices, and they are the ones you come to rely on over the years, and one of my places of choice for sound and solid reading is Olivia Mitchell’s Speaking about Presenting. It’s a treasure box of well-researched facts, and a great site to start with for anyone new to presenting.

It has been quiet there over the holidays, and it is good to see she is back with a post on Getting People To Take Action, referring to ideas from Chip and Dan Heath’s Switch from 2009.

If you haven’t read Switch yet, you might want to start with Olivia’s thoughts on how to get people take action after a presentation.


Two for starters [and some cookies]


Two important postings—a great (and growing) linked list of 100+ Presenting Tips from Jon Thomas and four predictions for 2011 from Nancy Duarte—and the new year is only a few days young.

I interpret this as a good sign that things are moving faster and in the right direction in the small but steadily growing part of the world known as Presenting Land.

I am in full agreement with Nancy Duarte as to the use of tablet PCs; not necessarily for the big stage, but for looking closely at an idea with a customer/client/student. If we are lucky, it will change our teaching once again. Touch, move, feel. Muscle memory. But most importantly, a different posture, a different style. Can’t wait.

Germany—and Smallville in particular—is still trying to catch up with all this. But I am sure the next couple of weeks of end of term presentations will show how much students have achieved already.

Good luck you guys, and please make sure you read these two posts!

Much of it will sound familiar…

And make sure you follow the link from Nancy’s post to Abstract City and NYT artist Christoph Niemann. I already loved his Coffee from 2008, the recent 2010 Let it Dough is just as good. Slideware with a twist: Story telling with cookies.

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