Presentations in Action – Review

This short book is a a goldmine of information on presentations. There are 80 tips from the author and other seasoned professionals throughout, and there is certainly something for everyone here. Each story is focused and lasts less than two pages, making it easily digestible. 

The advice is broken up into five sections:

Content: The Art of Telling Your Story

Graphics: The Correct Way to Design PowerPoint Slides

Delivery Skills: Actions Speak Louder than Words

Q&A: Handling Tough Questions

Integration: Putting It All Together

Each section has a ton of great advice, and it flows together nicely. One of the things that I hate about a book with a lot of contributors is that it will often have conflicting advice. That is not the case , for the most part, here. All of the advice is solid and easily implemented.

Some of my favorite chapters:

Presentation Advice from Abraham Lincoln – Great example of making your presentations clear and simple

Presentation Advice from Mark Twain – Short presentations may mean long preparations

The Elevator Pitch in One Sentence – What is your one sentence that describes who you are and what makes you different from the others?

Presentation Advice from Novelists 1 – Start with the end

You Can’t Use a Sentence As A Prompt! – Keep text to a minimum on your slides

Powerpoint and Human Perception – How does the Western brain view slide material?

The Art of Conversation – The importance of eye contact

The Free Throw – Use a pre-presentation ritual every time

When Did You Stop Beating Your Wife? – Handling questions that you don’t like

Ms. Kagan Regrets – Don’t use non-answers

The House that Jack Built – Putting it together

This is a really great book with a lot of good advice, but I would recommend it primarily for those who have already read a couple of other works on presenting. The two that I suggest starting out with are The Exceptional Presenter: A Proven Formula to Open Up and Own the Room and The Naked Presenter: Delivering Powerful Presentations With or Without Slides (Voices That Matter). Once you have read those, this book will definitely help you put your own presentations over the top. Recommended.