Learning from the world of Judo
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Looking for presentation advice in unusual places

Consider the following five "effective presentation principles" — are these precepts not good advice for delivering effective presentations?

(1) Carefully observe oneself and one's situation, carefully observe others, and carefully observe one's environment,
(2) Seize the initiative in whatever you undertake,
(3) Consider fully, act decisively,
(4) Know when to stop,
(5) Keep to the middle.

In fact, these five above are not "effective presentation principles" at all, they are Jigoro Kano's Five Principles of Judo as outlined by John Stevens in Budo Secrets.

It is easy to see, however, how these principles can be applied in our efforts to design and deliver presentations. For example, you may have witnessed a presentation where the speaker could have done much, much better if he had only embraced the wisdom of principle number (4) — know when to stop. There are times when you may speak longer or shorter than planned, but it must be a conscious decision based on the context of the moment and by following principle number (1) —  observing oneself and the situation, observing others and the environment. This is just one small example illustrating the application of such principles. In a seminar environment, I could imagine having good discussions about these principles and how they could be applied to everyday business such as presentation design.


Try this for something different: Go to the quotes section of Judoinfo.com. As you read through the list of quotes, try substituting "presentation" in place of "Judo" when possible, or just keep broader applications in mind when you read through the bits of wisdom. There are several pages of quotes. You will see that many do apply. One of my favorite sayings is:

"If you think you are good enough, you have just started your decline."

No matter how good your last presentation (or bad for that matter), what matters is how to improve. This is good advice for most all endeavors.


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