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October 07, 2005



I saw Dick's talk at OSCON this past summer and came away impressed. I remembered him saying he had stolen/adapted his style from Lessig, so when I gave a presentation in this style last week I encouraged my audience to steal it from me as well.

For those who are considering trying it, three things about this style and about Dick's presentation in particular:

First, as simple as they are, his slides have a very high level of polish. Nothing is more complex than it needs to be. Everything is easily readable and identifiable. Pay attention to this. It's the antithesis of crufty backgrounds and clip art.

Second, a key piece of this style IMO is the "refrain" -- certain elements are repeated periodically. These are often a sort of punchline, but they also offer a little pause in the otherwise relentless flow of images and words.

Third, if you decide to try this, and you generally give the type of presentation where you talk a couple minutes per slide, give yourself more preparation time than usual! There's the obvious challenge of more slides, and the more subtle challenge of making sure they mesh well and that the visuals work instantaneously. I gave my Hardt/Lessig-style talk eight times and in between each one I found something to tweak.

As suggested above, I used the presentation as an introduction to a longer (and slower-paced!) talk. It definitely drew people in.

Ron Lubensky

I saw Dick Hardt's presenation when the blogosphere was buzzing about it in Oct/Nov. The large text size, simple screen contents and rapid-fire delivery seemed to lend itself well to mobile delivery. I'm an elearning developer, so what I then did was convert it to mp4, 176x144 for my mobile device (SE k750i). Over the holidays I showed it to several people to gauge their reaction to it as a format for mobile learning. The reaction was universally positive.

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