Imagine you are entering a bath in a Japanese Hot Spring.
You have taken all your clothes off and put them in a wicker basket on a shelf. You’re standing naked with just the protection of a wash cloth. You feel very naked and vulnerable. Around you, in the communal bathroom, you see only women (if you are a man, then you see only men). Perfect strangers. From all generations. You may feel shy and awkward as you squat on a small wooden stool. You wash yourself carefully with some liquid soap from the dispensers and scrub your skin. You then fill the small wooden tub with water and pour it over yourself several times.
Preparation time is over. It is then time, in a state of cleanliness, to slowly enter the communal bath . Slowly because the water is sometimes so hot that you need to take it easy. Pure bliss starts there. As you deeply relax in the steamy bath, your mind drifts away and you start noticing how alive and present you are.
You smell the cedar wood. You feel the cool breeze from the blue mountains. Your body is immersed in hot sulfuric water, both heavy and very light. Your feet touch the smooth stone floor. You’re then floating. You are dreaming wide awake. The view all around you is breath taking. Dense green forests and immense mountains. Beauty, simplicity and harmony everywhere. Birds flit around. You hear people chatting or whispering at a distance. You can also focus on the sound of hot water pouring from a spout or gently gushing from a fountain. Eternity is now, silently enveloping you. You’re in a state of meditation. Both very relaxed and very aware.
You are Zen.
That is exactly how I felt when I opened the naked presenter, by Garr Reynolds.
Unlike with dozens of other books written by experts in communication skills, in speech writing or in slides design, the reading of this book is essentially an experience. An experience of what it means to present naked.
You may buy it because you want to learn techniques and recipes which will help you prepare for your next presentation. You will find those, naturally.
But more than tips and techniques, it’s about the essential “presence” of presentation.
The experience of being naked, vulnerable and human. Now.
It could be a book about Zen philosophy.
It could be a book about poetry.
A book about beauty.
This is not an ordinary presentation design and delivery book.
Give yourself a precious gift. A beautiful object to put on your desk, to take with you on your next train or plane travel. A book that brings the spa to your body and heart and the monastery temple to your soul. Simply.
It answers the essential question:
What does it mean to be fully present?
Holding this book in my hands, it’s like I connected with my inner Mrs Yoda and entered a garden of beauty, simplicity and harmony.
This book is not about Garr Reynolds. It’s not about being charismatic and becoming a presentation guru.
I met Garr Reynolds in Paris, last December, for Presentation Zen European Seminar 2010, organized by Phil Waknel and Pierre Morsa, from Ideas on Stage. I had grown familiar with him, from a reader’s point of view, since 2008. One of my first posts on this blog is about him. You can read it here, (it’s in French). When I first saw him in real life, I immediately connected with him as a person. Someone who is simply present, paying attention and listening with kindness, passion and humor. Making you feel kind, passionate and spiritual.
This book is about YOU.
You and your naked truth.
You and entering your private sacred place where you will reveal and express your best.
Take off your clothes, your old habbits and rules and dive into the beautiful experience of a Japanese Hot Spring bath with The Naked presenter.
You may then put on a freshly laundered cotton dressing gown (a Yukata) and start a new journey with a clearer and more focused sense of yourself and what you want to express.
“To express yourself as you are is the most important thing.”
- Shunryu Suzuki
The Naked Presenter: Delivering Powerful Presentations With or Without Slides
Make a difference. Next time, present naked. It might change the world.