Present Yourself: Using SlideShare to Grow Your Business
Kit Seeborg and Andrea Meyer
(O’Reilly – paperback, Kindle)
“Huh? Sorry. What did you just say?”
Welcome to our “always on” culture, where almost nobody pays full attention to anything anymore. Instead, we have “continuous partial attention.” For example, people habitually, nervously, or irritatingly mess with handheld devices, social media, and other electronic distractions while you try to speak to them, teach them, sell them something, or promote a cause.
Welcome, as well, to a time when “[v]isual thinking has become more important in business, because we’re processing much more information [particularly nonlinear information] than ever before,” writers Kit Seeborg and Andrea Meyer point out in their new book.
“As a result, slide presentations have become the language of business,” they contend.
Present Yourself: Using SlideShare to Grow Your Business is an engaging, nicely illustrated, comprehensive guide that shows you how to promote your business, organization, or cause using the popular online presentation site and social sharing network, SlideShare.
(You can set up a free SlideShare account at its website or sign in using your LinkedIn or Facebook account.).
Seeborg’s and Meyer’s new book also examines some of the key problems business presenters now face and how to overcome them.
“The challenge of an ‘always on’ culture is that by not wanting to miss anything, people are ignoring some part of everything they tune into at once,” they write. “ For the public speaker, this means you have some of your audience’s attention, but not all of it. Your talk is competing with the outside activities of the networks of every person in your audience who has a smartphone or Internet-connected device.”
They add: “Because today’s audience is engaged in continuous partial attention, presenters must put in extra effort to compete for the mindshare of a distracted audience. One way to win more audience attention is to include engaging visual slides with your presentation and show them intermittently instead of in parallel with your talk.
“Think of your slideshow as adding percussive punctuation to a talk instead of performing a continuous accompaniment. A speaker might talk for several minutes or more without showing a visual image on the screen. Then, in order to reinforce a point or introduce a new point, the presenter shows a slide or video. In this case, the presenter uses the visual media to punctuate the talk, breaking it up, adding interest and variety. This is a very different style from the traditional use of a slideshow–running in parallel to the spoken presentation.”
The book’s eight chapters focus on how to create and deliver presentations using SlideShare. And many of the tips can be adapted to other types of presentations, as well.
The chapters are:
- Chapter 1: Visual Thinking – Focuses on visual communications in business.
- Chapter 2: Getting Started – How to set up a free or Pro SlideShare account, upload presentations, and share with others.
- Chapter 3: Events and Public Speaking – How to get more comfortable speaking before an audience (start small), how to be well prepared, and how to publicize your presentation.
- Chapter 4: Content Marketing – You have many options, and SlideShare supports documents, PDFs, videos, and audio files, as well as slide presentations.
- Chapter 5: Sell, Sell, Sell – How to make the most of encounters with buyers “short on time,” which now includes just about everybody.
- Chapter 6: Research and Collaboration – Researching what’s available on SlideShare and using the site to collaborate with others.
- Chapter 7: Recruiting, Hiring, and Getting Hired – How a visual résumé and portfolio can supplement a traditional résumé or curriculum vitae to produce a “full professional presence.”
- Chapter 8: Organizational Outreach and Communication – Offers case studies and presentation how-to tips for startups, nonprofits, journalists, and government agencies.
One thing not covered in detail is “presentation design guidance.” The authors leave that area to other specialists. But you can get some good design ideas from many of the slides they present to illustrate their text.
If you are ready to try SlideShare or improve your skills at using it, Present Yourself can be a handy, helpful go-to guide for getting things done.
— Si Dunn