Present Yourself: Using SlideShare to Grow Your Business – #business #bookreview

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

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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.

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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.