We all end up presenting at some stage in our careers. While I dreaded the thought of it through there came a point when public speaking was just something I was going to have to do. Whether it’s a public speaking event or simply talking in a dressing room it is a skill worth developing.
Although the fear doesn’t go away I have always looked for ways to make the presentations more interesting and valuable to the audience. Trying to learn as much as possible from events I attend is a start – but to be honest most people get asked to present based on their work not on their ability to present.
Over the years I have read books like Slideology which is an excellent reference book that I dip in and out of when working on my PowerPoints. With that in mind I thought I would highlight some of the more recent resources I have found that have (hopefully) helped me improve my presentations and talks.
1. Confessions of a Public Speaker
In this hilarious and highly practical book, author and professional speaker Scott Berkun reveals the techniques behind what great communicators do, and shows how anyone can learn to use them well. For managers and teachers — and anyone else who talks and expects someone to listen — Confessions of a Public Speaker provides an insider’s perspective on how to effectively present ideas to anyone. It’s a unique, entertaining, and instructional romp through the embarrassments and triumphs Scott has experienced over 15 years of speaking to crowds of all sizes.
- Berkun’s hard-won and simple philosophy, culled from years of lectures, teaching courses, and hours of appearances on NPR, MSNBC, and CNBC
- Practical advice, including how to work a tough room, the science of not boring people, how to survive the attack of the butterflies, and what to do when things go wrong
- The inside scoop on who earns $30,000 for a one-hour lecture and why
- The worst — and funniest — disaster stories you’ve ever heard (plus countermoves you can use)
However if you don’t fancy shelling out for the book just yet check out this video of Scott delivering his key points from the book.
2. Slides That Rock, Presentation Design
I recently took this class on SkillShare – a brilliant (IMO anyway) site that offers a range of courses across Business, Design & Technology. This particular class is all about how do design better slides and how the design if your presentation is as important (if not more so) than the content.
The course contains a few different lessons – some relate particularly to business but there is more than enough in this course to justify the $25 price tag. There are 7 video lessons and plenty of good resources offered. You can check out the course here.
I did the course last week and loved the simple easy to follow steps. Hopefully those listening to me next time see the difference.
3. Prezi – The Anti PowerPoint/Keynote Tool
If you never heard of it you should definitely check it out. Prezi is a much more interactive presentation tool. It allows you much more freedom to use different types of content and can be a really great way to break up that boring deck. It can be tempting to get carried away with this tool though – remember you are still trying to convey a message – but if you get the principles right from 1 & 2 above this can really make you stand out.
Here is a quick video example of whats possible.