After watching Zen Design: An Overview it occurred to me that I have been doing it all wrong. When it comes to presenting myself with #COETAIL, I’ve been making some huge tactical errors.


In the past, I’ve done the week’s readings, investigated some information that’s out there, but once I get an idea, I stop inquiring and start typing. No matter what roadblocks I hit mid stride, I plow through my writing until I’m satisfied–not proud, but satisfied (see last week’s blog post for evidence of the failure this can create!) So this week, I mind-shifted! I decided to consider my favorite communication tool: the TED talk and how I can use that presentation design model in my own brand.

Why TED?

I have always enjoyed TED talks. They are short, engaging, and inspiring. It is not just their message that captures me but rather the streamlined discussion method mixed with focused graphics. TED talks focus all of the attention on the speaker and message. The graphics are engaging and thought-provoking and often contain no text or are just a topic heading to limit distractions. TED designers use visual storytelling and the speaker’s conversational manner to provoke the listener.

But where would TED talks be if they looked like a PowerPoint presentation? How successful would a TED talk be if the presenter read from their slides the way most presentations are shared? Let’s be honest–they’d suck!

So in an effort to avoid another sucky blog, I made a few changes this week:

  • Design Analog: I sketched out my thinking in a notebook (I even did my thinking near my little Buddha hoping he’d inspire) to ensure that my idea was thought out well
  • Simplicity: I’ve tweaked and edited my writing to keep the message simple with fewer (but specific words)
  • Streamlined: I’ve selected just a few bullet points and meaningful graphics to help support my thoughts

The Next Step

So why am I making this shift? Well, I’m not the “do as I say not as I do” kinda girl. I’ve been putting together a presentation for the L2Africa conference on my newest passion–Genius Hour. I want my short presentation to be packed with inspiration so my fellow educators return home to their communities inspired to start Genius Hours in their own schools. I am going to do this by merging visual storytelling and a casual delivery method to enhance my TED-inspired message.

Note: The pictures in this first draft were taken with my phone for use on Twitter and not for this specific activity in mind. For my future presentation, the photos will be in the same vane but with more deliberate framing. The dynamic message… well, if you want that, then you’ll just have to come and hear the presentation for yourself!