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Presentation Patterns: Techniques for Crafting Better Presentations [Kindle Edition]

Neal Ford , Matthew McCullough , Nathaniel Schutta
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Print List Price: $39.99
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Book Description

Presentation Patterns is the first book on presentations that categorizes and organizes the building blocks (or patterns) that you’ll need to communicate effectively using presentation tools like Keynote and PowerPoint.


Patterns are like the lower-level steps found inside recipes; they are the techniques you must master to be considered a master chef or master presenter. You can use the patterns in this book to construct your own recipes for different contexts, such as business meetings, technical demonstrations, scientific expositions, and keynotes, just to name a few.


Although there are no such things as antirecipes, this book shows you lots of antipatterns—things you should avoid doing in presentations. Modern presentation tools often encourage ineffective presentation techniques, but this book shows you how to avoid them.


Each pattern is introduced with a memorable name, a definition, and a brief explanation of motivation. Readers learn where the pattern applies, the consequences of applying it, and how to apply it. The authors also identify critical antipatterns: clichés, fallacies, and design mistakes that cause presentations to disappoint. These problems are easy to avoid—once you know how.


Presentation Patterns will help you

  • Plan what you’ll say, who you’ll say it to, how long you’ll talk, and where you’ll present
  • Perfectly calibrate your presentation to your audience
  • Use the storyteller’s “narrative arc” to full advantage
  • Strengthen your credibility—and avoid mistakes that hurt it
  • Hone your message before you ever touch presentation software
  • Incorporate visuals that support your message instead of hindering it
  • Create highly effective “infodecks” that work when you’re not able to deliver a talk in person
  • Construct slides that really communicate and avoid “Ant Fonts,” “Floodmarks,” “Alienating Artifacts,” and other errors
  • Master 13 powerful techniques for delivering your presentation with power, authority, and clarity 

Whether you use this book as a handy reference or read it from start to finish, it will be a revelation: an entirely new language for systematically planning, creating, and delivering more powerful presentations. You’ll quickly find it indispensable—no matter what you’re presenting, who your audiences are, or what message you’re driving home.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Neal Ford is Director, Software Architect, and Meme Wrangler at ThoughtWorks, a global IT consultancy with an exclusive focus on end-to-end software development and delivery. Before joining ThoughtWorks, Neal was the Chief Technology Officer at The DSW Group, Ltd., a nationally recognized training and development firm. Neal has a degree in computer science from Georgia State University, specializing in languages and compilers, and a minor in mathematics, specializing in statistical analysis. He is also the designer and developer of applications, instructional materials, magazine articles, video presentations, and author of six books. His primary consulting focus is the architecture, design, and construction of large-scale enterprise applications. Neal is also an internationally acclaimed speaker, having spoken at more than five hundred developer conferences worldwide, delivering more than two thousand talks. If you have an insatiable curiosity about Neal, visit his website at He welcomes feedback and can be reached at, and you can follow him on Twitter at @neal4d.


Matthew McCullough is a 15-year veteran of enterprise software development and currently enjoys the role of Vice President of Training at GitHub Inc. He is honored to be part of such an energetic team that is helping advance the software industry to a more collaborative and creative mode of working. Matthew’s past as a co-founder of a U.S. consultancy allowed him to have the job freedom to become a world-traveling open source educator, with the support of many businesses, conference organizers, and friends making it viable. Matthew is a contributing author to the Gradle, Jenkins, and O’Reilly Git books, creator of the Git Master Class series for O’Reilly, speaker on the No Fluff Just Stuff conference tour, author of three of the top 10 DZone RefCards, and volunteer President of the Denver Open Source Users Group. He can be reached via email at or on Twitter at @matthewmccull.


Nathaniel Schutta is a senior software engineer in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota with extensive experience developing Java Enterprise Edition based Web applications. He graduated from St. John’s University (MN) with a degree in computer science and has a master’s of science degree in software engineering from the University of Minnesota. For the last several years, he has focused on user interface design. Nathaniel has contributed to corporate interface guidelines and consulted on a variety of web-based applications. A long-time member of the Association for Computing Machinery’s Computer-Human Interaction Special Interest Group and a Sun-certified web component developer, Nathaniel believes that if the user can’t figure out your application, then you’ve done something wrong. Along with his user interface work, Nathaniel is the co-creator of the open-source Taconite framework, has contributed to two corporate Java frameworks, has developed training material, and has led several study groups. During the brief moments of warm weather found in his home state of Minnesota, he spends as much time on the golf course as his wife will tolerate. He’s currently exploring Ruby, Rails, and (after recently making the switch) Mac OS X. Nathaniel is the co-author of the bestselling book, Foundations of Ajax. Nate can be reached via email at and on Twitter at @ntschutta.

Product Details

  • File Size: 4192 KB
  • Print Length: 254 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0321820800
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (August 15, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0093J9K14
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #479,707 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Advice on Delivering Successful Presentations September 19, 2012
Being a consultant has landed me in a ton of different roles. Sometimes those roles required giving a lot of presentations and some of them did not require me to give any. A few of those positions had me using PowerPoint more than Visual Studio. There were also a few that wanted the presentations recorded live and some made without an audience.

I have presented enough now that I don't mind presenting at all, but that doesn't mean my audience always likes sitting through the presentations I create. I have never had food thrown at me, but I have seen the zombie gaze staring back at me as though I had successfully pulled off mass hypnosis. This usually happens when I have a mixed audience and I am not targeting a mixed audience. Sometimes things are too technical, boring the end user and managers, and sometimes they aren't technical enough boring the developers.

This book offers a ton of advice on how to not to preform mass hypnosis on your audience. It is a well organized catalog patterns that provides sound advice for designing, creating, and delivering your presentations.

It is broken down into three parts. The parts of the book coincide with the parts of the recommended process to follow when creating presentations. I have listed the parts and the chapters they contain below.

Part I: Prepare
Chapter 1. Presentation Prelude Patterns
Chapter 2. Creativity Patterns

Part II: Build
Chapter 3. Slide Construction Patterns
Chapter 4. Temporal Patterns
Chapter 5. Demonstrations versus Presentations

Part III: Deliver
Chapter 6. Stage Prep
Chapter 7. Performance Antipatterns
Chapter 8. Performance Patterns

I like the way the book is structured.
Read more ›
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Presentation Patterns - Invaluable Resource September 11, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a technologist, speaker, and author I find myself presenting in a variety of forums from C-Level Executive Overviews to Technical Conference Sessions to Software Design Reviews. Incorporating presentation feedback from fellow speakers, such as Mark Richards, and attendees from the No Fluff Just Stuff (NFJS) Tour has dramatically improved my presentations and has made me a better public speaker. This invaluable advice has now been packaged concisely into Presentation Patterns.

The contribution of these patterns (and anti-patterns) to the software engineering community cannot be understated. For anyone wishing to make the jump from Software Engineer to Software Architect this is a must read. I put this work in the same category as other must have non-technical references such as The Elements of Style (Strunk & White) and Diffusion of Innovations (Rogers).
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly useful systematization October 11, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Well, you start to read the book, and you think to yourself - the front page lacks one more co-author - Captain Obvious. But as the time passes, you realize how important it was to unscramble all that intuitive knowledge you have about what good presentation consists of. Suddenly, your preparation is structured, you look at your slidedeck from a different angle, you pay special attention to things you bypassed.
This book reassures your hunch about what's good and what's not in presentation and delivery, so thanks, Matthew, Neal, and Nate, it was both pleasant and useful reading.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile read regardless of aptitude August 28, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The authors present a large collection of patterns and anti-patterns for presenting. Some of the patterns weren't patterns at all, but major factors that affect a presentation, along with possible consequences and ideas for improvement. As someone with some (but not a lot of) experience doing technical presentations, I found several patterns that I intend to work into my presentations in the future.

The unfortunate side effect of the organization of the book (into 1-5 page patterns) is that the importance of any given topic does not necessarily match the focus it's given. For example, I would have liked to see more content about the all-important "Narrative Arc", perhaps more examples or a larger how-to-create section. Similarly, the Ant Fonts anti-pattern received more detail than necessary. The title is almost sufficient.

Overall, I would recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delivering excellent presentations June 23, 2013
By Eugene
Creating a killer technical presentation is hard. If it were easy, we would not see so dramatic a difference between presentations. Some of them are engaging and entertaining, have a long lasting impact and get the message delivered and some are dull and boring and your mind starts wandering and you start looking at your watch to see how long you have left to suffer sitting here.
Of course it takes some talent and experience to be a better presenter, but you can vastly improve if you know how to do it.
I had no previous experience at any big conference and I was very nervous for my first talk.
I am glad I came across this book. By implementing ideas from this book I was able to deliver good, solid talk. Without this book it would be complete disaster.
At the end, my talk was received very well, with almost all positive feedbacks, people asked questions after the talk, connected with me later,
told me they remembered what I was talking about. Of course, there is a long road to improve my presentation skills, make my talks more engaging and entertaining, but it comes with practice and experience.
I am very happy I came across this excellent book. There are many other patterns in this book that I am planning gradually to master and introduce into my presentations. This is one of the rare books that every software professional should have.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good read
Presentation patterns is a great book filled with practical information you can use in your next presentation. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Arnon Rotem-Gal-Oz
5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading / instruction manual / HOW-TO guide for presenters,...
Silent confession by the majority: Presentations are boring most of the time. Even when you are super enthusiastic about the presentations' topic, they are more or less a... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Emre Sevinc
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book with a confusing title
Before you purchase this book, ask yourself how you would define the word "PATTERNS"

A pattern, to me, is a set of recurring events/objects/elements. Read more
Published on December 27, 2012 by Kelvin Y C Fung
5.0 out of 5 stars No Fluff, Good Stuff: Get this book; the applause is worth it
If you want to improve your presentations, read Presentation Patterns. It shows how to get and keep your audience's attention; so they'll listen and remember what you're sharing... Read more
Published on October 31, 2012 by Burkhardt Hufnagel
5.0 out of 5 stars Good advice presented in an easily readable and useful format
I started reading this with a level of scepticism - I've been delivering presentations and courses for 20 years and considered myself a bit of an expert. Read more
Published on October 25, 2012 by shane Hastie
5.0 out of 5 stars A Shockingly Refreshing Approach to a Much Needed Skill
As an experienced presenter myself, I know a lot about the other publications out there on presenting. Read more
Published on October 8, 2012 by Barbee Davis
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