Starting our virtual morning on Tuesday at the Presentation Summit was Nancy Duarte who was present with a cool videotaped message that introduced the keynote speaker of the day, Garr Reynolds. Nancy spoke highly of Garr as an amazing, honest person who has inspired her.
Garr, who spoke virtually from Osaka, Japan was awake late at night to coincide with the time difference with Austin, USA. He began his talk with pictures that showed views from his bedroom window during his childhood spent in west coast USA. He joked that he could probably see across the ocean to Japan, his future home country -- even then!
Garr mentioned that PowerPoint or Keynote are just presentation tools, and presenting as an art is a much older form. He then talked about Kamishibai, a storytelling art form from Japan that uses changing pictures, a technique akin to today's slides.
Garr spoke about a red Mt. Fuji, tsunamis, and earthquakes, mainly about the recent natural calamity in Japan where 25,000 people lost their lives. He mentioned how displaced people in Japan were rehabilitated. He spoke how there was almost no panic, and no looting during this disaster, and how everything was so civilized, a reflection of Japanese culture.
No wonder, Japan has touched Garr's life in so many ways. He is inspired by Japan everyday, and this in turn has ushered change. He then asked everyone in the audience to talk to the person seated next to them about what inspires them. He said lessons are all around us, and what inspires him about Japan is nature. Nothing in Japan is far from nature including art forms like ikebana. I do not remember Garr's exact words but he quoted the great Japanese teacher, Morihei Yeshiva who said one must study how water flows in a valley stream, and study the teachings that nature brings forth. Nature thus is a sensei, a teacher. We must also learn lessons from the pine tree, the bamboo, and the plum blossom.
Garr, who used to live in downtown Osaka moved to an area outside the city that is full of bamboo plantations. This led him to the main topic of his session, 10 lessons we should learn from the bamboo -- these are my recollections, and may not be Garr's exact words:
Garr continued his analogy of the bamboo -- he said that flexibility and adaptability are lessons that we all can learn from the bamboo. The bamboo also shows resilience, and we should all strive to be like the bamboo.
Garr Reynolds is the author of Presentation Zen, Presentation Zen Design, and The Naked Presenter. A respected spokesperson for the presentation community, Garr is a former Apple evangelist and he works as a marketing professor for a small college in Japan. Garr runs a thought-provoking blog on slide design called Presentation Zen.
Categories: powerpoint, presentationsummit
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