Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Simple Yet Sophisticated

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” -- Leonardo Da Vinci

        It is important to keep as little information on the slide as possible. Keep your slides simple, yet sufficient. Most of the time, you will find all things important and you cannot remove them from your slides. It is a difficult task. But it is important.
“The brain is fundamentally a lazy piece of meat.”--Dr. Gregory Berns

A Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning

        Audience finds it easier to understand when
  1. They are presented with words and pictures (Multimedia representation principles)
  2. Words and pictures are presented next to each other (Contiguity principle)
  3. The speaker speaks out the words rather than letting the audience reads the slides (Split attention principle)
  4. The slides consist of concise and relevant words and pictures ‘Coherence principle’
“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”--Hans Hofmann, the influential German painter


        The audience should not have to look for a place to pay attention. Use line drawings, arrows, and/or pictures to show your audience where to focus.

White space

        Do not be stingy in leaving out space. White space make your slide clean and simple. It’s like giving your audience room to breath. When your slides are clean, the audience will find it easier to locate the focal point of the slides.    

Visual Superiority Effect (VSE)

        VSE  is a psychological term referring to our ability to remember picture-based content in a much better way than text-based content. In fact, we see texts as pictures. The problem is there are way too many pictures and they’re all look alike. It is harder for us to remember them. Single picture, on the other hand, stands out and is much easier to remember.
“My text chokes you, not because my text is not enough like pictures but because my text is too much like pictures. To our cortex, unnervingly, there is no such thing as words.”--JOHN MEDINA

Plain English Campaign

        If you’d like to find out how understandable you English is, go to the following website: http://www.plainenglish.co.uk/index.php

Make It Simple

        Use simple language, and avoid jargons and buzz words. When people understand what you say, they can easily engage with your presentation. Remember, great words are simple, concrete, and emotional charged.

Use Analogy

        Find the right analogy to make your sentence even simpler. When you do, stick with it. Repeat it as much as you can. You are helping your audience to remember it.

How Understandable Are Your Slides?

        There are 4 Criteria to judge how understandable your language:
  1. Average number of words per sentence: The smaller the better.
  2. Lexical density: Lower text density is easier to understand.
  3. Hard words: These are words with more than 3 syllables. Obviously, hard words are harder to understand.
  4. Fog Index: The number of years of education you need in order to understand the texts. Clearly, the smaller-index slides are easier to understand.
Source: The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience 

Book or Audiobooks?

          Personally, I prefer audiobooks. It's fun, and I can listen when I'm doing something else. It also makes other activities (e.g., jogging) a lot more fun. For more detail about audiobooks, please read [this post].     
          There is one more reason that may encourage you to go for the audiobook version. You can get it now for FREE. Audible offers you a free trial for 14 days. Even if you get the book and cancel the subscription right away (so that you don't have to pay), you can keep the book. And, don't worry if you lost the audiobook file. Just log into audible.com. You can keep downloading the over and over again.

    About the summary: It takes time to finish up a book. And, when you do, sometimes, you want to review what you learn from the book. If you do not make  notes as you read, you might have to go through the book once again. This can be time-consuming when you are dealing with a book. But you can still flip through the book and locate what you are looking for.

However, when the material is an audiobook, it is extremely hard to locate a specific part of content. Most likely you will have to listen to the entire audiobook once again.

This book summary will help solve the pain of having to go through the book all over again.

I am leaving out the details of the books. Most books have interesting examples and case studies, not included here. Reading the original book would be much more entertaining and enlightening. If you like the summary, you may want to get the original from the source below.

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