slide:ology is one of my favorite business books of the year so far, and, yes, it is a business book. In fact, I think it should be the top of any business person’s reading list. If you ever have to present an idea, pitch a product, sell a service, get approval, or provide a progress update which should cover just about every front line manager and above in an organization. I’m not alone in my praise. Garr Reynolds, presentation guru and author of Presentation Zen, calls the book his “favorite presentation book of all time.”
The crux comes very early in the book on the role that slides play. According to Nancy, they can either be a document, a teleprompter, or a presentation. Slides can be great as a document (her book was actually written using PowerPoint) or teleprompter. However, audiences shouldn’t be expected to endure slides that are more document than presentation. The remainder of this beautifully designed book is dedicated to tips and techniques on how to create effective and powerful presentations.
Filled with case studies and example’s, Nancy’s book provides tips and techniques that are both practical and inspirational at the same time. Some people may debate of the finer points in the book. Maybe the most controversial is the estimate of 36-90 hours to create a 30-slide deck. Most people would find that time commitment hard for an everyday presentation. However, if you’re trying to land that million dollar plus client or making a career-changing presentation, it could be argued that even more time might be justified. In some ways, if it’s worth presenting, it’s worth spending the time to do it well.
Maybe of most significance to me was Nancy’s explanations of the use of color and text. Arguably, these two items are the most prevalent elements of any presentation. While I though I had understood color in the past, I’ve never had it (and particularly the color wheel) explained to me in such an easy, understandable, and instantly applicable way. In a quick 14 pages, she moves from color theory into practical, usable examples.
She covers a variety of other topics like:
- Using personas (a concept borrowed from user experience design)
- Brainstorming presentation approaches & ideas
- Sketching ideas
- Using diagrams to express complex concepts
- Displaying data
- Arranging elements on a slide
- Using photos, illustrations, and images
- Using movement
To hear our discussion with Nancy on a variety of the topics from her book, check out our recent podcast with her. This book is both a great read and a handy reference tool. While it looks great on a coffee table, it would be a shame for it not to be near your computer to reference for every presentation you create.
I highly recommend this book as part of your personal library. It left me wanting even more. I can’t wait for the follow-up! The book is available from your local bookstore or you can order it now from our bookstore.
Nancy is also presenting next week in the Visual Thinking Online Workshop just one week from today, on Tuesday September 16th. You can talk with her and three other great presenters live (Dave Gray, David Sibbet, and Karl Gude). This is a great opportunity to hone a wide variety of your visual thinking skills with some of the best in our industry.