Presentation Zen

A book review of Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds

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.”

The Naked Presenter

This book not only gives useful presentation tips but enlarges your thinking about presentations and engaging with an audience.

I have frequently heard about Garr Reynolds and his Presentation Zen books. But I never ordered one until picking out my own Christmas presents on Amazon.com last month. I’ll be speaking soon at BI 2012 in Las Vegas. It’s too late to learn how to make better slides (Presentation Zen and Presentation Zen Design), as they’re already finalized. But it’s not too late to improve my delivery, so I chose The Naked Presenter: Delivering Powerful Presentations With or Without Slides as my first Garr Reynolds title. It’s a great book and this quote from page 101 explains why:

If you are talking about trying to lead a movement, change the world, or just get your message heard and remembered, then you sure as heck better be prepared to show your passion. You don’t have to be slick or polished, and you don’t have to be tall or good looking, but you do have to engage, inspire, and motivate. That’s what leaders do. That’s what naked presenters do.

Whether you’re a conference speaker or just engaging with co-workers in a conference room, this book not only gives useful presentation tips but enlarges your thinking about presentations and connecting to an audience. I’ll definitely be re-reading this book on the flight to Las Vegas and hope that the results come through in my presentations. But I will be fully dressed.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I purchased this book with my own funds. It was not a free review copy. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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.”