The Beginning: Foreword or CSI style?

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In her book, The Non-Designers Presentation Book, author Robin Williams argues that a presentation should start with an introduction into the topic, like the preface in a book. [I]t's the foreplay before you start reading. We enjoy that process., she writes.

I happen to disagree with this advice. Actually, I've stopped reading forewords in books. They usually only tell me how important the topic is or how great the author is. I'm not interested in this any more. I already bought the book; just take me to the content already!

Mini Book Review: 15 Minutes including Q&A

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15 Minutes Including Q&A: A Plan to Save the World From Lousy Presentations by Joey Asher

This book is strictly aimed at business presentations. For those, the approach must seem pretty radical: Your presentation should take no longer than seven minutes - the rest (of the 15 minutes) is for Q&A.

The author proposes a rather rigid format for those presentations. That's necessary, so that you can keep that time limit and also as a guideline for the presenter to cope with the requirements of this approach.

Mini Book Review: The Non-Designers Presentation Book

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The Non-Designers Presentation Book: Principles for effective presentation design by Robin Williams

Robin Williams (not to be confused with the actor) is the author of the classic The Non-Designers Design Book that I recommend when you want to learn about the basics of design. As the name suggests, The Non-Designers Presentation Book is a variation of that book focusing on presentation design.

Presentation Zen European Seminars 2012 in London

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It's almost a tradition by now: For the third year in a row, Phil and Pierre of Ideas on Stage have lured presentation expert Garr Reynolds to come to Europe to hold a seminar. A few things were different this year, though.

First of all, the location: The seminars took place in London instead of Paris. And, yes, seminars - there were two this year. In addition to his standard seminar, we were also treated to the world premiere of the Presentation Zen Story Telling Masterclass, an all-new seminar focusing on the art of storytelling in presentations.

Feedback by Coaster

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One of the big problems for a speaker is getting good, usable feedback for your presentation. You won't get it directly from your audience after your talk - people are too polite. Would you go up to a speaker and tell him or her that the presentation sucked and that you want your hour back? No, you wouldn't. If it was that bad, you would just leave the room and forget about it.

People are willing to argue with the speaker about certain aspects of the content but they don't usually comment on the form or the overall effectiveness of the presentation (e.g. whether or not it met their expectations). The most reliable feedback, in my experience, ends up in the feedback form (electronically or on paper) that the event organisers prepared. And even then you need to motivate the audience to fill those out.

So it was interesting to see a new (to me) approach being tried out at a conference that I attended recently: Feedback by coaster.