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from Dean Meyers

Close your eyes to see

Thanks to Howard Greenstein, I was able to get into the the Social Media Club meeting in New York City last week on short notice. The details about the meeting, along with video, is posted here: http://www.socialmediaclub.org/author/howard/

I didn’t want to tweet about it, which I am finding is now a great way of making notes, but I did bring pencil and pad to write down things that might interest me. The first speaker, Fraser Kelton (@fraser) spoke about Glue, and the issue of “walled gardens” keeping data from transferring between applications.  My pad and pencil responded with this:

glue-walledgarden

The second speaker was Tina Alexander, talking about the community sites currently in beta on The Wall Street Journal’s site.I was struck by the idea of “Curated content”, a phrase she used, and drew this:

curated_content

The images come from the talks, and they serve as reminders of the talks. Sometimes from listening, pictures are created in the mind that are more striking than anything projected on the screen. Sometimes, you have to close your eyes to see.

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Filed under: design, Presentation Skills, Visual Expression, Visual Problem-Solving, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Love the post-it note and index cards.

The simple story of transformation

The simple story of transformation

In a world where Martha Stewart reigns as “Queen of the Craft”, it dawned on me last night that during the Great Depression of the 1930’s making clothing, cooking, and even handwriting were practiced, utilitarian crafts in many if not most homes. Jump to 2008 and my focus on visualization skills of the typical, high-school educated to high-level professional, and I routinely see outright FEAR when I suggest laying out a story on index cards, post-it notes..anything non-digital. I love facility and ease of use, most certainly: InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, PowerPoint, Flash, Final Cut Pro…all are my great and good friends. However, the invitation to tell a story the PowerPoint way – “Insert your TITLE HERE”…”Add your text here”..or through Flash’s interface – “Start with a Keyframe on a layer” – “add your library elements” doesn’t address the question that drives the purpose of using these tools in the first place: What is the point of telling this story? These are great tools, but they create anarchy when they offer no guidance or pathway to the process. And, to make matters worse, much of the templating/chart building/clip art libraries obscure the message or are useless.

Specialization, as in inspired and gifted artwork and design, has its place, but it really heightens one’s own ability to take ownership with pride when you can craft it yourself. At the very least, understanding the process of having an idea, seeing it in your mind’s eye, showing some kind of representation of that to others and, lo and behold, making the communication happen, should be an essential craft in your arsenal. Learning by doing? I’m all for it. Here’s a simple exercise:

Draw a square on the left side of a post-it note. Draw a circle on the right side. Draw a 4-sided box with rounded corners in the middle. Draw an arrow between the square, and then one between the rounded-corner box and the circle. You have just told a story of transformation!

In summary, don’t be afraid to sketch it, doodle it, scribble. In fact, you SHOULD do that and more–a slick presentation is like packaged white bread: a pretty wrapper and a lot of air to puff up an anonymous product. Make it, own it, wear it.

Here’s T. Boone Pickens doing it, live, on a whiteboard: http://www.pickensplan.com/media/?bcpid=1640183817&bclid=1641831862&bctid=1650060434

Send me your scans/shots of your index cards, post-it notes, napkin sketches. Anyone have a good visual concept of “Status quo”?

Filed under: Diagrams, Presentation Skills, Visual Expression, Visual Problem-Solving, , , ,

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