Presentation Zen

A book review of Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds

Garr Reynolds headshot

It’s SAP BusinessObjects User Conference season and time to put the final touches on presentations.  I recently picked up a copy of Garr Reynolds’ Presentation Zen, second edition to keep my copy of The Naked Presenter company.  The book is divided into three sections- preparation, design, and delivery- and gives solid examples with lots of illustration. It begins with a forward by former Apple evangelist Guy Kawasaki, who cleverly writes his forward as a slide deck.  The book also features sidebar articles by other well-known presentation gurus like Nancy DuarteSeth Godin, and Gihan Perera.

Although the presentations I give tend to be technical with lots of how-to and screen captures, I appreciated the discussion on the evils of “slideuments”. A slideument is a slide presentation that really should be broken down into a more general slide deck and a more specific document handout.  Although I tend to agree with the author, it’s easier to see the concepts applied to the sample slide decks of the late Steve Jobs or TED speakers than pure hands-on technical content.

The other advise I took was purchasing a presentation remote.  Mr. Reynolds writes about Keyspan remotes on his web site, so I purchased a Keyspan PR-PRO3.  There are smaller remotes on the market, but this one fits comfortably in my hand and has great range.  It really makes a difference in your presentation when not trapped behind a lectern.

I did my best to apply as much advice as possible in my upcoming presentations at the 2012 ASUG SAP BusinessObjects User Conference.  I’m glad I bought it and know that I’ll pick this book up again and again as I prepare for future conferences.

What are your thoughts about Presentation Zen?  What other books about presenting should I read?

Disclosure of Material Connection: I purchased this book and did not receive it free from its publisher. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Author: Dallas Marks

I am a business intelligence architect, author, and trainer. I help organizations harness the power of analytics, primarily with SAP BusinessObjects products. An active blogger, SAP Mentor and co-author of the SAP Press book SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence: The Comprehensive Guide, I prefer piano keyboards over computer keyboards when not blogging or tweeting about business intelligence.

7 thoughts on “Presentation Zen”

  1. The biggest challenge I have with remotes is how poorly they work for doing demonstrations. As with you, I include a lot of technical demonstrations in my sessions, and have resigned myself to being tied to the lectern. I do get out when I can.

    1. Thanks for writing, Dave. I’m excited this year to be doing a demo-less best practices presentation using my remote and one with demos. I’ll also be tied behind the podium for the demos.

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