Presentation books you shouldn’t miss


If you’re living in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s vacation time. So here’s a list of great summer reads, any of which can have a guaranteed impact on your next presentation effort. The presentation books you shouldn’t miss!


Better Beginnings: How to capture your audience in 30 seconds, by Carmen Taran


The first few seconds of a presentation are absolutely key to grabbing an audience’s attention. So the introduction must have visual appeal, and the speaker must be good and competent.


In the words of the author, “A good speaker with bad beginnings is like a fitness trainer who smokes.”


So whether you have to talk to one person or 1,000 people, in person or virtually, Carmen Taran’s Better Beginnings is the book to help you master the art of presenting successfully from the first moment.


Presenting to Win: The Art of Telling Your Story, by Jerry Weissman


Every day, all over the world, thousands upon thousands of presentations take place. Unfortunately, though, in many of these the presenters fail to persuade, move, or connect with their audiences.


With this in mind, Jerry Weissman – a corporate presentations consultant – has written a book that can help to prevent such troubling situations.


Among many other tips and techniques that may prove useful to you, the best added value of Weissman’s Presenting to Win is that it teaches us to focus on our audiences. He knows that to establish long-lasting relationships we have to ask ourselves: how can I give my audiences what they want using the resources at my disposal: my product, idea or service?


Resonate and slide:ology, by Nancy Duarte


Nancy Duarte, the author of resonate and slide:ology received for the presentation she created for Al Gore – An Inconvenient Truth – something that few can boast about: she got an Oscar. That’s how great an argument she presented! So we should all read her books and try to absorb what she has to say.


While slide:ology seeks to teach us to think visually, focusing more on building the slide itself; resonate deals more with the presenter and story itself, to enable a presenter to acquire the ability to tell visual stories that have the potential to transform audiences.


The goal here? To learn how to transform abstract information into appealing and exciting stories. Easy? Maybe not. But as the author tells us: “If great presentations were easy to build and deliver, they wouldn’t be such an extraordinary form of communication.”


The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience, by Carmine Gallo


It’s inevitable. When it comes to books about presentations, anything on the Steve Jobs approach is one that must be looked at.


Carmine Gallo – a communications expert – has spent years studying and analyzing the best of Jobs’ performances and has compiled here examples, tested techniques, and most of Jobs’s presentation secrets.


Gallo’s point is that, contrary to what most people may believe, getting the same kind of results and equaling even the performance of somebody like Jobs, isn’t something that’s only possible for people born with that kind of talent and whose personalities lends itself to this. In fact, Gallo says it’s nothing of the sort. What is needed, he says, is just plain training. Steve Jobs practiced for hours and hours before launching into a presentation. In fact, for days on end. So absorb the content of this book, and don’t give up. And, as Jobs said: “Stay hungry, stay foolish.”


Presentationzen Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery, by Garr Reynolds


Science tells us that when we transmit information orally, 72 hours later people will remember only about 10% of what we said. But if we talk and use a related visual cue, an image, the percentage increases to 65%. Apparently, the brain interprets each letter we’re reading as if it were an image.


If this is the case, imagine what happens to the brain when it’s faced with slides filled with text, text and more text: it literally suffocates!


Enter Garr Reynolds with presentationzen. Reynolds’ mission is to help cut the umbilical cord that holds the presenter hostage to the slides. So this book provides simple rules for creating slides that support the presenter, teaching us how to take advantage of the slides as a visual way to support the spoken content.


The aim here is to connect the speaker with his audience and to stop the oral repetition of what is already on a slide, and vice-versa. After all, the audience can read. What it can’t do is listen and read at the same time!


Story: Substance, structure, style and the principles of screenwriting, by Robert McKee


If you aren’t familiar with Robert McKee, you should know that directly or indirectly he may well be responsible for several of your favorite series or movies. McKee is a celebrated teacher of creative writing whose success can be measured by the long list of film and television projects his students have written, directed or produced. All told, to date these writers have been awarded 49 Oscars and over 170 Emmys.


Although story is a book known as the “Bible” of screenwriters and doesn’t have specifically to do with presentations, this doesn’t mean it won’t be useful in the construction of your presentations. Because you don’t have to be a screenwriter to benefit from this book. In fact, it’s recommended for anybody interested in writing and in storytelling. Because this is a book for storytellers.


Super Apresentações: como vender ideias e conquistar audiências, by Joni Galvão and Eduardo Adas


This is a book written and produced by the founders of SOAP, illustrated with the same methodology for visual language that SOAP uses with its customers. And it focuses on the same objectives as those of a presentation: to create interest, to generate understanding, to entertain, and to engage an audience.


Here you’ll find tips on structuring content – with guidelines for creating scripts that are coherent and well-structured; tips for creating different layouts or assemblies of fast and memorable presentations; advices on how to encourage an audience to pay attention; and suggestions on how to train presenters – among other invaluable information. Basically, you can learn here how a great presentation can benefit your ideas, proposals and products.


We expect to introduce an English version of this book in the next few months.