Wednesday, 28 September 2005

The art of presenting

I've been secretly studying how people present their presentations for the past several years.

I think it began during my English for Occupational Purposes (EOP) class, where we were to taught to write memo, conduct interviews, perform feasibility studies and write apology letter to the top management for using the executive toilet unknowningly during the first day of work. I was in charge of preparing the presentation slides for our group's product, a hi-tech personal assistant device called Digital Buddy.

Looking back, the presentation was horrendous. It lacked direction and theme, too lengthy and frankly, too ambitious. Classic beginner's mistake.

That was second year. Then we spent the following three semesters attending the dreaded Seminars I, II and III. Seminar is held every Friday at 3 PM, a time when most would rather be doing something else. Seminar is compulsory and it's supposed to give the third and second year students the experience of presenting. And as far as I could tell, most people including me, hated doing presentations.

Presentations are quite intimidating. As someone born with stage fright, I prefer the job of preparing slides over doing the presenting any day. But presentations are important to us as students of engineering. We would at least be required to present our final year projects at the end of Project I and II. The grade for final year project is also largely based on the presentation given, like it or not.

But what sometimes happen during Seminar and Project presentations are truly dreadful presentations. I don't mean that in a bad way, just in the fact that some of the presenters made little effort to present a sensible, understandable presentation. They read everything off the slides and mumbles them back to the crowd. Some even came with unfinished Powerpoint slides.

I'm no better myself. I read off slides too. I mumble. And worse, I mumble my jokes and I laugh by myself.

But presentations are about communicating ideas. It's a brief moment when people already give some of their time to listen to what we have to say. The least we could do is to respect their time and present properly to the best of our ability.

The art of presenting is something we all can learn in time. It may seem as if this skill of commanding people's attention and making them listen to what we say is bestowed upon a chosen few, but in reality we communicate this way everyday. We need to engage people's attention in order to tell them something.

Presenting is communicating to the masses. Sure, it's different from the personal, one-to-one type of communication but there are times when we simply can't avoid this one-to-many form of communication.

In the job place, for example, running away from doing presentations is not an option. Failure to communicate properly with a potential client during a presentation can cost the company dearly.

When we start seeing presentations as a communication form, we would probably take it more seriously. Every details matter: from colours selection and font used to arrangement and white spaces to the flow of speech and the lighting level. They may sound like some lingo to us, but learning them can make a huge difference in how we can channel our ideas to the audience and leave an lasting impact long after the session is over. It's not about being the company's (or the world's) best presenter, but it's about getting ideas across the best way we can.

And if we've managed to get people thinking about the things we've presented, we should feel glad. We've successfully accomplished what presentations are supposed to do: get people to listen, understand and think. Knowledge grow from ideas, and like the water that revitalises the earth and the plants, they need to continously flow and not stay stagnant.

[ Garr Reynonds's Top Ten Slide Tips ]

Saturday, 24 September 2005


My dear lecturers, there's something about me that all of you must know.


So, about those mid-terms and finals... they're actually hazardous to my health.

[ Notebook stickers, from ]

Saturday, 17 September 2005

Not an ordinary bus trip

To peninsula's end

Title: She Got Off the Bus at the Peninsula
Story/Art: Urushibara Yuki
Published in: Kondansha's Afternoon 2004-09
Scanlator: Kotonoha


Kunizaki Mitsuko is a single mother who returns to her childhood place, the grocery shop once ran by her deceased grandmother. Located at the tip of a peninsula, the shop was mostly frequented by tourists and bus drivers who drove them there. Slowly, Mitsuko begins to recall the people who went there and things that happened near the shop during her childhood: the tourists who came to see the beautiful sights the seaside has to offer, and the few who came in order to leave to the their worlds behind and never to return again.


If you're wondering why I make so much fuss about manga, then this is one of the reasons. Unlike the comic scene in the West or even here in Malaysia, manga has taken the art of pictorial story telling to new directions.

In this one-shot (a single release, as opposed to a running series or a mini series) story, we are taken for a walk in the shoes of single mother, who is trying to start fresh by returning to the life she once knew. She intends to close her grandmother's shop with the hope of moving on with life with her only son but in doing so she reopens a window to her own past.

The story borders on the supernatural but there's nothing too frightening here to send chills down your back. Horror fans, prepare to be disappointed.

The setting also sets the tone for main character's feeling. The shop, which is situated at the edge of nowhere, is metaphorical of the feeling of a single mother struggling on her own.

In just about 40 pages, the author manages to tell a poignant tale of hopeful souls looking another chance in life, where everything is never really what it seems and the road to better things is often concealed beyond the horizon.

Wednesday, 14 September 2005


pink flowers...YIKES!!!

I guess this is bound to happen when you are a guy, and you want to borrow stuff from your siblings and all of them happen to be gals.

I asked from my sister to borrow anything that I can use to keep money in and she gave me this pouch. With flowers on it. (PINK flowers!!!) Luckily I'm only borrowing it for a while and the other side of the pouch is plain (no PINK flowers, thank God).

On the subject of using a pouch, someone told me years ago that it is one of the sunnah of Rasulullah SAW. He was said to have used it as a means of keeping his money. Like every sunnah, there is blessing to this practice. People who use it claim that this practice help ease their financial woes.

But more importantly, we know and believe that practicing the sunnah will earn us the love from God and His Prophet. That reward alone is greater than having millions of ringgit in the bank or not having to worry about money for a single moment in our impermanent life.

No choice

With the flood of anonymous and spam comments that I have to deal with lately, I have decided to activate the word verification feature for the comments. I don't understand why they are targeting my weblog, it's not like it's popular or anything. According to statistics, I barely get 50 returning visitors per week. I hope you can be patient about it and that's all I'm asking. I welcome constructive comments, not annoying marketing ploys. Thank you.

Tuesday, 13 September 2005

The Last Class

Finally, I have managed to finish this book.

Shortly after the mid terms and a period of feeling like crud, I mustered up some strength to read the book right up to the final sentence. And boy, to my surprise the final chapter is best chapter of the book.

Titled The Last Class, the author serves out some wonderful advice on writing and being a writer. Things like what to do and what not to do. To find reward and satisfaction in the craft and not to be obsessed with being getting published. To write because of heart, of the spirit, of the depth and of the expansion.

If you only have time to read only one chapter from this book, I recommend attending The Last Class wholeheartedly.

Friday, 9 September 2005

Lest I forget

With so many things going on this week and the last, there are times when I actually forgot that I have a blog. Not that anybody's really reading it, anyway.

I'm slowly learning what people mean by when it rains, it pours. Believe me (or "wallahi", as my friend Osman from Eritrea would say), the stream of workload is unpredictable but steadily increasing.

My Tok Wan is admitted at HUKM right now and a few of my relatives are in town as well. I occasionally drive them to HUKM before class or whenever I'm free. Tok Wan's condition is quite worrying.

And the finals are coming. Exhilarating days to look forward to.

When I have some free time, maybe I would write something here. Insya-Allah.

Provided that I don't forget my Blogger username and password.

Monday, 5 September 2005

Life after Katrina

A blog is not just a way for friends to know what's going on with you, and in this case a blog is a way to tell friends that you've just survived one of the most devastating natural disaster in recent history.

This blog is by a New Orleans resident who survived hurricane Katrina. His descriptions as well photos tell stories that might have been skipped by the media radar. Let's spare a few prayers for these people who are in the their hour of test and need.

Roasted corn

Roasted corn usually usually reminds me of Tok Wan. My grandfather. This is one of his favourite nibbles.

He is in town after undergoing an endoscopic procedure about a week ago. He was scheduled for surgery but the doctors decided against it after considering the fact that he is now 77. He is resting at our home at the moment.

When I saw this plate yesterday, I was pleasantly surprised and I tried to remember the time I saw roasted corn. I realised that usually I would be eating roasted corn when he is around. Nobody I know loves roasted corn right down to the last kernel like he does.

Friday, 2 September 2005

Inkscape 0.42.2

Arabic Inkscape
Source: EGLUG

I've been secretly waiting for this for several weeks and now it's here. Version 0.42.2 of Inkscape, the open-source scalar vector graphics editor.

Inkscape is similar to graphics software like Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw and Macromedia Freehand. They are used to create scalar vector graphics (SVG), a graphic format that allows us to resize, shrink or stretch our graphic without reducing its quality. SVG are often used in designing logos, icons, diagrams and maps, but there are some who have even used it to design websites and CD covers. I have some ideas about using it, but I think I'm going to play around with it first.

Inkscape is a free download. Excluding your Internet connection bill, though.

Inkscape interface

I N K S C A P E . Draw Freely
A Guide to Inkscape (still a work in progress)
Related Posts with Thumbnails
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