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Authors@Google presentation

Google_campus_2 As you know, I presented for Google on March 21 in Silicon Valley. I linked to the video last week as an update to an older post but I didn't really point it out to you because I didn't know if it was really of value online since it is so long, etc. But I see that people like Mitch Joel over at Six Pixels of Separation thought the video was worth watching as have some others such as David Zinger who outlined his key takeaways on his site. So here it is below. Maybe the video can help someone you know make a better presentation in the future. I hope it helps.


I'd give this talk of mine about a 7.5 out of 10. It's not great, it's not bad. In a twist on that old Mark Twain line, if I would've had more time to prepare I would have made the talk a little shorter. No presentation is perfect. All we can do is get a little better each time and offer up more value to our audience. The audio balance with the music and videos was better live though it does not come across as well in the video. All-n-all though Google did a great job with this video. Nothing was cut from the video, technical hiccups and all. You can't see the faces of the audience or hear them very well on the tape, but it was a very good crowd. Google is a totally awesome company with a lot of very smart, very cool people.

The one challenging thing about the room was that there was no monitor or any way to put the MacBook in front so that I could see it. So the only way I could know which visual was showing was to look briefly at the screen (usually peripheral vision was enough). Not ideal but each situation is different and the show must go on. It's just a presentation after all, not the Oscars. The room was great otherwise and fully packed. There were even people sitting on the floor off to my left; a very close and intimate setting. Thanks Google — You guys rock! Thanks especially to Katina and Gregory! Can't wait to return. Maybe next time I'll at least wear a blazer.

(No slides are posted from this talk, but you can see some of the slides in this sample deck used for an article I wrote for Slideshare.net a few weeks ago.)



Dear Garr,

This morning I saw your whole masterclass at Google on YouTube. I've already implemented some of your ideas in my presentations, but I've learned a lot of new things today. By the way, I'd give your talk a 9 at least.

Thanks for the great work,

Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Laurie Bartels

Hi Garr,
I so enjoyed your Google talk! Having read your book and being a regular reader of your blog, it was nice to "meet" you in person. I'm a teacher at a K-12 independent school in New York, and am pushing for our opening faculty meetings this coming August to focus on creativity. I'd love to have several talks running throughout the day, including Sir Ken's and yours. (I'd also love to have a Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain – http://www.drawright.com/ – session for our faculty.)

I benefit from your regular doses of inspiration, both in design and in general.


I just finished reading your book and enjoyed having the chance to watch you present. Thank you!


At last! I'd been looking forward to this since you announced your talk at google. An hour well spent, very enlightning, rock on!


Just so you know I did not watch the Google talk, I only read your post about it. I like the fact that you are so human and accept that not all the presentations you give will be perfect. I think that is a big lesson for all of us and as you say you learn from every single experience.
And I like the fact that you did not beat yourself up for it.... just simple acceptance.

Thanks for posting so often.

Allan W.

I find myself on both sides of the podium these days, both as a presentation designer and speaker. When I set up an environment for speakers or musicians, I try to make sure I bring/acquire a "confidence monitor" - a small display that the speaker can see up front. Often, the AV table is the back of the room - the laptop isn't close enough to see Keynote's excellent presentation view (two screens: current and next). So, the next best thing is to bring a long VGA cable (ours go to 100') and a VGA splitter, and feed it up to a cheap LCD up front. It really helps our presenters face forward during a presentation.

If you speak and don't set up, it's something you should request of the facility. Most often they can accommodate.

Garr, thank you for keeping up the blog since your book release. It's much appreciated - I learn something every time!


7.5 out of 10???

That was amazing and so inspiring. Great presentation Garr.

Stefan P

Thank you for the presentation. It was inspiring.

I'm wondering about your thoughts on the slides/spoken-word ratio. In this very presentation I sometimes got distracted because the slides were flipping so fast. You always stick to just a few words per slide, and I fully agree with you on that (got your book), but at times there are whole series of slides with just a few words on each. And when you are talking, you flip through them so they are in sync with what you say. Throw in a couple illustrative, emotional photos in between also and it get quite intense.

Sometime I feel that this is somewhat distracting. Either I'm super concentrated on following the slides in order to not miss something (causing me not to pay full attention to what you are saying), or I wonder what word I missed just because a blinked when I sat back just listening.

With your presence on the scene and narrative skill, the message comes across so well anyway, so I think the sections with really fast paced slide flipping is just a distraction. They don't add so much to the message.

Would love to hear you elaborate more on this matter.

Daniel Sutoyo

Garr I watched your Google Talk and I really enjoyed it. I think I enjoy it so much because it resonates so much with what I learned in your book. It was good to see it in action. Hope to see more of these in future. Ganbatte!



I think you've talked about Jazz before, but I haven't commented and I don't want to let another opportunity pass.

Jazz and presenting match up at a lot of points, but to me the most important is practice. In both, you don't practice every word or every note. Instead, both require you to practice the structure, the underlying framework, of what you're trying to share with the audience. It's a new way of practicing for most of us, and getting it right makes a huge difference.

Thanks as always for your consistent insight.


Michael Sporer

Your presentation did exactly as intended, that is "Get the point across!" When people try to be eloquent, they sometimes forget to deliver the message. Your relaxed and conversational style is great. Best of all, it's yours! Engaging and conversatonal....



Very nice job at Google. Thanks very much for posting the video.

A few quick fun comments. "Simplicity is..." to which I would complete it as "simplicity is... simplicity. To say that simplicity is something else (for example, clarity or white space) is to deny the other words their full power. Consider that simplicity is simplicity, clarity is clarity, white space is white space, and so forth. For me this is truly powerful, and gives full voice to the ideas inside that I want to share with my audience."

As far as a great presentation, I once saw and heard the violinist Isaac Stern play a Mozart violin concerto with a symphony orchestra. No slides, no words, in fact. But Isaac spoke the truth through his violin in a way that others would die to be able to do. That was a truly great presentation.

Keep up the marvelous work!

Russ Conte

Marco Montemagno

simply excellent !
When do you come in Italy?
Italy needs ideas and this kind of inspiration.
Again, very good presentation.


I watched your Google presentation and found it very inspiring. I am preparing for a two-day seminar on presentation for a company. I have been working with your book and I find it very valuable and inspiring for my preparation. I am going to include quite a few of your concepts and ideas and I am certainly going to recommend your book and blog to the people. Any plans for a translation into German?

Terri in Tokyo

I'd give it a 9 as well!

btw, I'm deep in 'Presentation Zen' and appreciating every moment of it. I just put up a white pinnable board above my desk at home, and will head out for some index cards to rock the analog planning...I have a big presentation tomorrow, and the book is inspiring me to change. have to hurry a bit to catch up, but I'm sure it will be worth it!

Brian Law

Hi Garr,

I have learned a great deal from you and want to say thank you.

Also, a quick question. What is the logic behind sprinkling in those quick questions throughout your talk, e.g. "anyone from Japan"? Audience engagement? Information for yourself?

Thanks again.

Brian Law

Kelly Saran

Thank you.

Sebastiano Mereu

hey garr, great presentation - i really love it! after having to put up with many bad presentations here in switzerland, it is a real pleasure to sit back and enjoy this video. thanks, and hope to see you soon in japan ...sebi


Nice work Garr. I share your love of TED.com I cant wait to see your TED presentation someday ;)

You mentioned in your video how you would love to use Flash, but don't have the time. I love the open source spirit of your blog, and sites like slideshare.net. If you have a concept you really want to spice up by adding some cool animation or graphics (leveraging Flash) I would be happy to build something for you in return for how much I have learned from your blog and book.

send me your sketches/ideas to:
[email protected]

Gabriele Barni

Really amazing! .. i wanna be a student in your university course ;p

Michael Janapin

Hi Garr,
I'm a big fan of yours. I'm really dying to see presentations here in my country change. I've caught your virus but I'm not sure how to spread it myself.
If it will be possible to you to come over to the Philippines, I would love to partner with you in changing this corner of the world through great presentations. Your book might also sell here great. :-)


I have watched your Google presentation again and find it both very entertaining and insightful. As a matter of fact, I was surprised how much I was able to learn in those approx. 50 minutes regarding presentation structure, theming/story and visualizing (your slides are a real benchmark: simple, metaphorical and concise).

Still I would like to offer you some feedback on your presentation style. While I appreciate the way you make use of gestures, I wonder whether the way you move across the stage in front of your audience supports your presentation. From your presentation style it becomes apparent that you are an active and engaging character. But maybe here less would be more? Why not take a stand and pace your movements according to the content/images you are communicating? Try to set up different positions on the stage from which you communicate different aspects of your presentation. Listeners learn fast and on an unconscious level. After you have established your positions, they know that at one particular point on the stage you are relating a story (metaphor), from another you are giving hard facts and yet from another you want them to ask questions/participate actively. Keep your positions clean, eg. do not say something negative from a position which is used to touch upon the emotions of your audience.
Rather than cooling down the atmosphere or hampering your enthusiasm, it would add another dimension to your presentation style, making it even more subtle and appealing. You could also anchor laughter (or understanding or agreement) from the audience with a gesture.

I find your metaphor about jazz very appropriate and deep. Although I am not a musician, I know, intuitively, what you mean. It also brings to mind the image of a conductor. She does not say any words but is able to produce - with her gestures - the most magical sounds on earth, spell-binding her audience. Conductors are leaders, which brings us back to one theme of your presentation and to you. You are a leader and a role model.

Andy Weir

Hey Garr,

I've been enjoying your blog after Google pointed me here when looking for Lessig's video online about a year ago. Got the book and working my way thru' slowly. Thank you.

So, finally, I get to watch this (YouTube is blocked at work!) and I was not disappointed. I really value your willingness to share.

Coming to Scotland anytime soon?

Andrew Kulikov

Garr, that was really nice.
I'm so glad that there are people spreading dharma in our real life, and i think you're one of them.
Thanks a lot from Russian zen follower, keep on sharing zen approach to life, communication and all the rest.


Any plans to make a transcription of this presentation?

It's pure GOLD.

I want to subtitle it to Spanish, but there are some parts that I don't understand. I'm thinking about giving a subtitled copy to a few teachers from my old college so they can show it to their students.

I wish I had this kind of info back in the day when I was in college.

Please take the transcription into account.

Thanks in advance. Greetings from México.

Fernando Villaamil

This presentation is definitely IT for me in regards to a "How to do it" quick reference. Is worth seeing it over and over.. any plans to make it available for dowload with sampole slides?

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from my old college so they can show it to their students.

I wish I had this kind of info back in the day when I was in college.

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