I found a treasure chest in the back of a great book called Presentation Zen Design: Simple Design Principles and Techniques to Enhance Your Presentations by Garr Reynolds. It is a list of ten Japanese aesthetic principles.
I love this kind of stuff: not only can these principles improve your PowerPoint pitches, products, website, and outlook on life, but they make people think you're smart when you mention them. Here they are:
1. Kanso: eliminating clutter and expressing things in plain and simple ways. Application: change your mediocre PowerPoint pitch by reducing the amount of text and only covering the key points.
2. Fukinsei: using asymmetry or irregularity to depict balance. Application: Add asymmetry to your logo to make it more memorable.
3. Shibui: understating and not elaborating upon things. Application: designing products that don't have superfluous features.
4. Shizen: depicting naturalness with the absence of pretense and artificiality. Application: simplifying the user interface of your products.
5. Yugen: using subtle and symbolic suggestion rather than revelation. Application: creating advertising that isn't “in your face”; rather, it moves your soul.
6. Datsuzoku: freeing yourself from habit or formula. Application: updating your customer-service policies.
7. Seijaku: achieving a state of tranquility and energized calm. Application: changing how your deal with employees.
8. Wa: embodying harmony and balance. Application: melding the needs of your customers, employees, and shareholders in your management decisions.
9. Ma: providing a spatial void or silence to provide a focal point. Application: redecorating and reorganizing your work space for greater productivity and creativity.
10. Yohaku-no-bi: appreciating the beauty of what is implied, unstated, and unexpressed. Application: developing a more trusting approach to managing people.
Maybe I'm nuts, but Garr's collection can also apply to one's presence and use of social networking and social media:
1. Kanso: cutting the crap and silliness of your tweets and updates.
2. Fukinsei: using an avatar that isn't a symmetrical, full-face photograph.
3. Shibui: using only 140 characters to express deep thoughts.
4. Shizen: responding to anyone who contacts you, not just “important people.”
5. Yugen: using subtle tweets and updates to communicate information.
6. Datsozoku: changing your tweets and updates so that they're not always the same kind.
7. Seijaku: avoiding arguments and flame wars.
8. Wa: considering the impact of your tweets and updates on all the people who read them.
9. Ma: creating a clean and simple avatar, profile and Facebook profile.
10. Yohaku-no-bi: achieving a greater understanding of what people are trying to say in their tweets and updates.
These principles are the tip of the proverbial iceberg in Garr's book. He also explains effective uses of typography, color, images, video, and white space.
If you want to create an enchanting PowerPoint or keynote presentations and improve the zen of your social-media presence, Presentation Zen Design is required reading.