Nancy Duarte’s slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations contains a Presentation Ecosystem that I adore.
Duarte divides the ecosystem into three sections: delivery, visual story, and message to explain that each of the three carry equal importance in a presentation. This is a difficult concept to teach my students, as they often feel that delivery alone can carry a speech. The best presentations occur when all three align.
When it comes to delivery, I haven’t found a more comprehensive, easy-to-understand, direct, and TRUE text than Garr Reynolds’ The Naked Presenter: Delivering Powerful Presentations With or Without Slides. As corny as it sounds, when I read this book last year, it completely changed my life. My delivery style and teaching methods changed for the better, and the text allowed me to be more of my authentic self to then better connect with my audience: my students. I previously blogged about Reynolds’ text here.
When it comes to visual story, no one explains it better than Duarte. slide:ology breaks visual presentation down so simply that you can’t help but develop better slides after reading it. Other great places to turn for help with visual presentation include Garr Reynolds’ Presentation Zen Design, anything David McCandless touches (especially his TED Talk and designs), and my personal slide guru, Chiara Ojeda. Check out her new blog, Tweak Your Slides, here.
Message is complicated, so the more you can study, the better your content will become. Great places to study include TED and Duarte’s YouTube Channel. Blogs you should peruse include Phil Waknell’s Phil Presents, Guy Kawasaki’s How to Change the World, and Presentation Advisors. I also learn a lot about message by watching my students’ presentations. The more you can immerse yourself in public speaking culture, the more you learn the dos and don’ts, the common mistakes people make, and the tricks that work every time. Two wonderful places to find public speaking culture in your area are PechaKucha and TEDx.