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.