The world according to Garr

I am in Wellington for the WebStock conference – attending the Garr Reynolds workshop (http://www.presentationzen.com), which I am covering for Idealog magazine.

I must tell you about the flight down from Auckland. A significant chuck of my fellow passengers were a large group of Pacific Island women, all dressed in lime green mumus. There must have been thirty of ‘em. I have to confess I was nervous about being squeezed between a couple – I had been allocated a centre seat. It wasn’t to be. I had a row to myself. As the aircraft taxied to its position for takeoff the group began harmonising what sounded like a prayer. It was both beautiful and unsettling. Did they know something I didn’t?

As we began the descent into Wellington, caught by the traditional gust of crosswind, which caused the tail to yaw slightly, the choir struck up again; this time a slightly more strident hymn. I was uplifting and kind of surreal. The other passengers applauded when we landed. Pretty sure it was for the tune. I have had much hairier landings in the shear crosswinds of Wellington - on one flight a wing actually grazed the tarmac.

The Presentation Zen workshop was very interesting. Garr is a nice chap and he knows his material, as you'd expect. His experience of living in Japan for 20 years lends an exotic dimension to his material. I feel a certain despair about the calibre of presentation that even seasoned campaigners deliver. In many ways they are the worst. They should know better. The problem is just that. They think they know better. Asking them to remove something from a presentation is akin to questioning their experience and judgment - a personal affront. "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few." - Shunryu Suzuki.

Perseverence grasshopper.

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