Presentations… Inspired

For those of you who may not know, I am, by trade, a trainer.  The emergency management stuff came after my early forays into training, and throughout my emergency management career I remained a trainer.  Obviously a big part of training is what we call ‘platform skills’ (aka being able to present).  I’ve been a trainer for over 17 years now and I’ve been sought after across the country for training and presentations – so I guess people like what I do.  I know, though, that I have a lot of room for improvement.  Through the years I’ve learned from many people – assimilating parts of their presentation style into mine, honing my skills.  I’ve learned to not be so stiff and to relax; I enjoy doing presentations and I learned that I’m a better presenter by simply showing the audience that I’m having a good time.  I try to always learn something from a speaker or presenter – and sometimes it’s not their content, but how they deliver it.

I’ve recently had the pleasure of reading material by Nancy Duarte.  Nancy is a communication expert who owns one of the most successful non-tech businesses in Silicon Valley.  Nancy has authored the books Slideology and Resonate, and just released a book for Harvard Business Review called Persuasive Presentations.  While I’ve not read Slideology, I can personally attest that Resonate was a great book – a great book made totally astounding in the ibook format.  Yes, ibook, not ebook.  If you are not familiar with ibooks, they are interactive books.  Resonate incorporated a great deal more content than could possibly be in the print version by including both internal and external links, video segments, and more.  Presentations, after all, are a multi-media experience – and she proves that point by the medium of the ibook.  Never fear – it’s not at all distracting, as the ibook format is a self guided experience.  Don’t want to watch a video?  Then you can skip it and continue reading.  Very user-friendly.  I believe the only means of getting it, however, is at the Apple Store.  Anyhow, Nancy’s approach to presentations is refreshing.  She has studied a history of great speeches, analyzed the patterns and flow of those speeches, and formulated methodologies to help bring you success by following those patterns.

As I mentioned, Nancy just put out a new book for Harvard Business Review called Persuasive Presentations.  I ordered it yesterday and I’m quite looking forward to receiving it.  It’s a paperback and Nancy explains that she has incorporated the best parts of her previous two books as well as some new content.  I find her material to be great for an experienced presenter as we continually seek to hone our skills.  While a new presenter or trainer might get a little overwhelmed, I still think they can learn a lot from her.

In case you’re wondering, I’m not being paid to advertise for Ms. Duarte – I’m just passing along some great resources.  I encourage you to check out her website.  She has some good info on there.  If you have 20 minutes to kill, sit through her TEDx presentation – it’ll give you a good overview of her philosophies.


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