Book Tips: PresentationZen and The naked presenter

I’m currently reading two great books about presentations — or rather about communicating and connecting with the audience: “presentation zen” and “The naked presenter”, both by Garr Reynolds.

There are a lot of books which address the “Powerpoint Pest” (Stoll), but these books actually offer viable strategies against it. There is a large overlap between the books but the focus of “presentation zen” is more on slide and presentation design, while “The naked presenter” focuses on a philosophy of connecting with your audience in a way that is direct, honest and without barriers (there is a third book focusing exclusively on presentation design, but I haven’t looked into it yet). There are a lot of references to Japanese culture (obviously) and to Jazz music, although other experts are cited as well (including Yoda — you just have to love such a book ;-)).

He isn’t against using technology (even in “The naked presenter”, where he also addresses speaking without slides), but put it into its place:

Technologies such as PowerPoint and Keynote – or new tools like Prezi – are only useful to the degree that they amplify our message, make things clearer and more memorable, and strengthen the human-to-human connection that is the basis of communication. Used well, multimedia has the power to do this. But too often presentations given with the help of multimedia suffer because the presenter puts too much energy and emphasis on the technology or visuals and not enough on making a meaningful connection with the audience.
Garr Reynolds, “The naked presenter”

I can highly recommend both books for everyone who really want to get his point across and does not want to bore his or her audience.

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