Big presentation due? There’s a book for that – slide:ology #bookreview

slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations
By Nancy Duarte
(O’Reilly, paperback, list price $34.99; Kindle edition, list price $27.99)

Bet you were hoping I was about to say: “Big presentation due? There’s an app for that!”

There probably is, or will be soon.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could just phone in your PowerPoint slides and audio and stay comfortably ensconced at a Starbucks in Waterloo, Iowa, while 50 managers and executives in Boston huddled in a poorly ventilated conference room and sweated while they marveled at your presentation?

Some of you already have developed and honed an iPhone-it-in or iPad-it-in capability. But most of the world’s drafted or “volunteered” presenters still have not. They show up at work one day and are told they will have to prepare a presentation by next Tuesday that could make or break their job – or a whole department’s jobs.

No pressure. You know how to do this, right? Everyone else is tied up with projects and deadlines. So we’re counting on you. Have fun with it. Get creative! And have it ready for review and comments by 4 p.m. tomorrow.”

Published in 2008 and still attracting readers, slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations has gathered an array of pleased fans and good reviews, as well as some scathing reviews from a few detractors.

It is not a 1-2-3 how-to book that can help you throw together a slide show by tomorrow morning. Instead, it lives up, colorfully, to its subtitle: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations. It delves carefully into a wide array of topics related to the process of preparing slides that can connect with their intended audience. And it is heavily illustrated with examples.

If you are starting a new job or a new position where you will be expected to make presentations, you should consider spending some quality learning time with this book and keeping it handy. Get a jump now on developing the skills and knowledge you will need when crunch time suddenly hits.

This also applies if you are under increasing obligation to wow the bosses with charts and graphs and bullet points – or if you are thinking of becoming a presentations teacher or consultant. 

Developed by Nancy Duarte, a “widely recognized…leader in presentation development and design,” slide:ology is divided into 12 chapters:

  • Chapter 1: Creating a New Slide Ideology
  • Chapter 2: Creating Ideas, Not Slides
  • Chapter 3: Creating Diagrams
  • Chapter 4: Displaying Data
  • Chapter 5: Thinking Like a Designer
  • Chapter 6: Arranging Elements
  • Chapter 7: Using Visual Elements: Background, Color, and Text
  • Chapter 8: Using Visual Elements: Images
  • Chapter 9: Creating Movement
  • Chapter 10: Governing with Templates
  • Chapter 11: Interacting with Slides
  • Chapter 12: Manifesto: The Five Theses of the Power of a Presentation

The author cautions that “presentations all too often reflect the agenda of the presenter rather than build a connection with the audience.”

And, if your job includes meeting with customers: “In many instances, presentations are the last impression a customer has of a company before closing a business deal.”

Indeed, elaborate hundred-million-dollar advertising and branding campaigns can be neutralized by a single lame presentation on a laptop computer right at the critical moment, she warns.

You will not want to be the one who created that dud slide show.

#

Si Dunn‘s latest book is a detective novel, Erwin’s Law. His other published works include Jump, a novella, and a book of poetry, plus several short stories, including The 7th Mars Cavalry, all available on Kindle. He is a screenwriter, a freelance book reviewer and a former technical writer and software/hardware QA test specialist.

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