Presentation ideas: Takahashi (king-size text) and Kawasaki (top-10) Matt 10 Oct 2005

16 comments Latest by Nick

Takahashi (king-size text)

Some interesting presentation techniques were discussed recently at Presentation Zen, Garr Reynolds’ blog on professional presentation design.

One is the “Takahashi Method,” which is really just a fancy way of saying use big-ass text. Doesn’t sound too revolutionary, but the story behind it is a good example of embracing restraints: Masayoshi Takahashi, a Japanese programmer, needed to give a presentation. He didn’t have PowerPoint. He didn’t have a design/layout program. So he was stuck with plain old text. So he went big with the text. Really big. In Japan, where most presentations consist of lots of bulleted text in a teeny-tiny font size, this was a bold move. According to Reynolds, a grassroots movement has been born with blogs across Japan buzzing about Takahashi and his presentation style.

Another interesting approach is Guy Kawasaki’s technique of always following a top-10 format. Ten slides. Ten major ideas. That’s it. Reynolds calls it the Kawasaki Method but I’m thinking a nod to Letterman or even Casey Kasem may be in order. Anyhow, in the article Make Meaning, Kawasaki explains why he prefers this approach.

I learned by watching lots of presentations, and one thing I figured out early on is that most CFO-level speakers — particularly CEOs, particularly male CEOs — really suck as speakers. They’re boring; they’re long; they wander around. I saw speech after speech, and I discovered that if there’s anything worse than a speaker who sucks, it’s a speaker who sucks and you have no idea how much longer he or she is going to suck. That’s a horrible feeling.

To prevent you from getting that feeling, I’ve developed a Top 10 format. All of my speeches are in Top 10 format, because if you think I suck, I at least want you to be able to track my progress through the speech so that you know approximately know how much longer I’m going to suck.

16 comments (comments are closed)

Mathew Patterson 10 Oct 05

The worst feeling at university was always watching the lecturer load up his powerpoint slides, and seeing the number of slides counter ticking up, up, up…

Dan Boland 10 Oct 05

Funny you mention PowerPoint… Kottke linked to this Washington Post article basically condemning PowerPoint for “encourag[ing] ‘faux-analytical’ thinking that favors the slickly produced ‘sales pitch’ over the sober exchange of information.”

John Zeratsky 10 Oct 05

I can’t believe the Post just published that article on August 30. Tufte has been making noise about Powerpoint since 2003.

Chris 10 Oct 05

One of the lecturers on my course at university showed page after page of typewritten text, in 10pt size. I quickly discovered that this text was identical to a book he had published. So I bought the book and got an extra hour in bed instead.

GoClick 10 Oct 05

If theres one thing I really don’t like it’s transitions in powerpoint. Nothing says “I’m a knob” like some jazzy wipe from one ugly hard to read slide to another. I see it all the time.


Things I like to see in a presentation:


  • Dark, if not black background with light text

  • No motion that isn’t needed

  • Clear fonts as big as they can be

  • No sounds

  • Full screen diagrams and charts

  • A presenter who realizes he’s the one presenting, not powerpoint

  • No use of a projector or powerpoint at all, grow some charisma

GoClick 10 Oct 05

I realize it might be adding too many features but I’d like to be able to preview comments, especially since I totally boteched the URI to my blog…. ouch.

Don Wilson 10 Oct 05

Great, now we’ll see blogs that look like this.

Don Wilson 10 Oct 05

That was supposed to be Header1 tagged font, but oh well.

Darrel 10 Oct 05

The best, most engaging presentation technology is the overhead projector and dry erase markers. Forces people to be less scripted and only display what they need to display without the distract bullets/wipes/fades/colors/etc.

Dan Boland 10 Oct 05

The best, most engaging presentation technology is the overhead projector and dry erase markers.

You obviously were never in my math classes. =)

Darrel 10 Oct 05

You obviously were never in my math classes. =)

Just imagine how worse it would have been had your algebra teacher used Powerpoint. ;o)

MH 10 Oct 05

Even worse is presenters whose presentations consist of them reading aloud their slides verbatim instead of using them as a memory aid or take-off point…

I don’t need you to read to me, I can do it myself!

Oh,

Oh, and

Oh, and overuse

Oh, and overuse of

Oh, and overuse of pointless

Oh, and overuse of pointless BUILDS

kingbenny 10 Oct 05

I hate how the WaPo and, apparently, Tufte disparage PowerPoint for ways people repeatedly abuse it.

indi 10 Oct 05

I have to take a lot of mandatory training where I work. I love it when the presenter really knows the topic he/she is teaching and after talking without looking at the screen for a few minutes skips slide after slide with the comment, “we already covered that [click], that [click], that [click] …” Makes the class go much faster. Then you can access the presentation again online if you want to review the details.

J 11 Oct 05

Point of information, when I tried the Kawaski link, I got:

Forbidden
You don’t have permission to access /presentationzen/2005/09/the_kawasaki_me.html on this server.

Additionally, a 403 Forbidden error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

Getting an error in the error handling, at least that made me laugh.

Nick 12 Oct 05

The “Takahashi Method” reminds me of Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries’ Flash movies, like the instant classic “Cunnilingus In North Korea” (Warning: Flash with sound, NSFW-ish), which use bigass text and an impeccable sense of timing to convey more than a video or flashier-Flash possibly could.