At one point, I was determined to get all of the best presentation books that I could find. I quickly realized that most offer the same advice in slightly different ways and are often put together like a bad powerpoint presentation. Presentation Secrets was a pleasant surprise. Though I would not recommend it to everyone, there is a lot of new material here.
The author focuses on three key concepts (Focus, Contrast, & Unity) for the three main parts of presenting (Story, Slides, & Delivery). This is a simple way to break down the material, but unique from anything that I have seen. The author really improves on the standard presentation fare by addressing the psychology behind good storytelling, comparing emotional charts, and throwing out simple rules that you always have to follow. His ideas on story and structuring the emotion of your presentation’s problem/solution are worth the price of the book.
That being said, I don’t think this book is for everyone. If you are just starting out or preparing for a one-time presentation, this book is too complex to digest and use quickly. Though there is a ton of good material and the writing is good, I wish there was less text and more focus. If you are a seasoned presenter or someone who feels like they have the basics down, then this book will be a great tool for you. Use it as a reference to improve your material and your story, slides, and delivery will be improved. Can’t really ask for more than that.
If you are a beginner, pick up a copy of The Exceptional Presenter: A Proven Formula to Open Up and Own the Room (see our review here). It’s a one stop shop of very practical techniques and tips that will help you knock a one time presentation or get your feet wet.
If you are beyond the beginning stage, pick up a copy of Presentation Secrets if you are interested in really shaping your presentation to be most effective. The Naked Presenter: Delivering Powerful Presentations With or Without Slides (Voices That Matter) (see our review here) is a good one as well, but there is not as many concrete steps or as much information as there is here.