Sunday, November 11, 2012

Book Review: The Naked Presenter

Recently, I was exchanging email with a colleague on the subject of presentations when he brought up Nancy Duarte's books, which I'd read some time ago, and given a positive review to at least one of them. One of the books that came up was Garr Reynolds Presentation Zen, which I'd also liked. It turned out he had a more recent book out, The Naked Presenter, and so I decided to give it a read.

It's okay, but I can't recommend it as highly as his previous book or Duarte's. The book focuses more on the "Zen" aspects of approaching presentation preparation and delivery, and less on the actual mechanics of those things themselves.

This would be well enough, but I found many of the techniques to be high level and vapid compared to other works, and the metaphors to all things Japanese felt forced.

Like many of the more recent "pretty books" (Duarte's and Reynolds' both fall in this camp), the content is so blown out in favor of whitespace, quotes, and pretty pictures, that it's pretty devoid of content. What's there is not beyond what's already covered in the original book. It does try to get into the whole zen-mental-state thing, on approaching prep, on delivery, on handling a hostile audience, etc, but only superficially. I'd have liked to see some approaches to drills or to methods of rehearsal and the like.

In summary, the book is alright, but I'd recommend Duarte's Resonate or Reynolds' Presentation Zen over this book. If you like Reynolds' other book a lot, then you may enjoy this one.

The Naked Presenter: Delivering Powerful Presentations With or Without Slides (Voices That Matter)

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