Customer Reviews: The Naked Presenter: Delivering Powerful Presentations With or Without Slides (Voices That Matter)
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VINE VOICEon December 27, 2010
Reynolds is a speaker, consultant, a writer, and designer. He is a long-time student of Zen arts - and is currently an Associate Professor of management at Kansai Gaidai University in Japan. In his first two books Presentation Zen and Presentation Zen Design, he wrote about tools for planning and designing successful presentations. In this book, he focuses on the delivery of the presenters can deliver natural and memorable presentations that connect deeply with the audience. Some of the key recommendations include:

1) Think Conversation not performance - natural delivery is more like a conversation between friends than a formal one-way lecture. Don't be boring. Don't read your speech. Make eye contact.

2) Prepare. Identify the purpose. (Start with 'Why?') When you present you are trying to create change in people's minds.

3) Establish "presence." Focus on the here and now. Be present. Take a risk and express your true self. Be authentic. Show your passion.

4) Project yourself. The Way you look. The Way you move. The Way you sound.

5) Have pace in your presentation. Attention spans are normally 10 minutes. You need to mix it up. Have the audience participate.

6) Begin with a punch. End with a powerful finish (inspire, tell a story)

7) I thought this excerpt captured the essence of Reynold's teachings from the book:

"I've always said that presentation is more art than science. So what is art?...Set Godin said this about art in the context of work: 'Art is a generous action - it's when a human connects to another human and makes a change.' The work that we do could be art, but if we are just following the rules, playing it safe, and sort of working-by-the-numbers (as in paint-by-numbers), then the work lacks connection and difference, and therefore lacks art. The best presentations are works of art because the best presenters connect in the spirit of contribution and generosity and help people make a change. The worst presentations are speeches are the usual ones, the ones that are perfunctory, route, safe and utterly forgettable. Nobody ever got fired for doing the expected and the safe...Today, more than ever there are opportunities to speak in front of others to make a connection and contribution to lasting change - that is, to create art."

My thoughts on the book:

1) Buy the Book - Skip Kindle. I'm as "green" as the next reader - however this book is written to be read (and owned) in print and not on Kindle. It is beautifully designed and intended to sit on your book shelf as a guide. Masterful in its design - its look and feel is "Zen-like" if I can take it that far in description.

2) This book is a quick and captivating read. While Reynolds does not introduce much in terms of new concepts, I found his ability to distill the message to the core essence of what's important to connect with audiences to be worthy. He practices what he preaches - this is a page turner for a self-help book - which holds your attention throughout. The book is well paced and mixed with stories, quotes, tips from professional presenters and beautiful Zen art.

3) Book is best suited for the advanced presenter. There are better options for beginners and intermediate practitioners such as:

How to Give a Pretty Good Presentation: A Speaking Survival Guide for the Rest of Us

Confessions of a Public Speaker
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on May 11, 2011
I've been a fan of the Presentation Zen website for many years, and have read Garr's previous books. They were both excellent, and contained concrete advice on how to design effective presentations, especially using slides.

This new book feels like a placeholder, with nothing much new to add to the topic. I found it a bit too repetitive, with the same advice repeated throughout the book. Many of the anecdotes, and much of the advice, comes in the form of quotes from other books in the "how to present" field. The rest is taken from the Presentation Zen website, where I'd already read it in blog form.

I thought that the approach taken by Scott Berkun in "Confessions of a Public Speaker" was a better way to address this topic. Unfortunately, this book was a let-down to me.
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on December 14, 2010
This is an excellent book with deeper content than the book I've been supplying with my presentation classes: Presentation Zen. This book gets more to the matter of presenting than simply making a nice set of slides. In fact, as indicated in the title, it's about making a great presentation with or WITHOUT slides. I wish more people would understand that point! Perhaps this book will be the turning point in a world of death by bullets.

Again, the focus is on PRESENTATION, not slides. So if you're looking for a "how to make a pretty presentation" book, this is not it. If you want to learn presentation from an expert, this is the book.

Here's the punchline. There's nothing revolutionary in this book. In fact, you've heard much of the material before. However, the material is presented in a clear, readable, even relaxing format that will remind and reinforce what you already know but need to practice. And that's what I like most about this book: it reminds us of what we need to practice! Too often presenters slip back to graphs and bullet lists. LET GO OF WORDS AND MAKE A POWERFUL POINT.

Wow, glad to get that off my chest! Buy the book. 200 pages makes it less than 10 cents a page!

Oh yeah, and you can keep your clothes on.

Chris Reich
Presentation Instructor
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on February 18, 2011
This is my new favorite book on presentation skills! Really great. While some of my other top recommendations (e.g., Presentation Zen; Slide:ology; Resonate) focus more on presentation DESIGN, this wonderful and simple book is all about presentation DELIVERY. It is a terrific (and beautifully created!) resource that I would recommend to anyone who speaks in front of people (i.e., presenters, facilitators, trainers, teachers, etc.) I re-read it cover to cover the night before I had to give a big presentation and it really put my mind at ease, reminded me of the key things I needed to focus on, and set me up for success. It's almost like having a personal presentation skills coach in a book!
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This a great book, the first I have read by Garr Reynolds. It cuts right to the chase and has some great advice throughout the book. You can probably find 90% of the advice in this book in other works, but this book is laid out so well that it really stands out from the rest. It is a beautiful full color book that really practices what it preaches. By the end, you feel like you just sat through an engaging, creative presentation on how to present well.

Some of the things that really helped me include:

Simplify. Your presentations are too long, cut them down.

Use graphics for your visuals as much as possible, not text. Never just read a slide.

Two things to start with: 1. What's your point? 2. Why does it matter?

Connect emotionally, don't perform a data dump.

One of things I really liked about this book were the two page interviews throughout with other great presenters. Very helpful advice.

Other people who have reviewed this work say that this book is more for the advanced presenters, but I disagree. As someone who rarely speaks in front of people in a formal setting, I found a ton of useful information. I would not make it my only recommendation for a new presenter, but its certainly on the list. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned presenter, get this book.

If you are a beginner, I also recommend: The Exceptional Presenter: A Proven Formula to Open Up and Own the Room
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on December 25, 2010

The Naked Presenter is good for those just beginning to speak in public but also for those already experienced.

I am a Storyteller and Toastmaster: public speaker, now. 76 years old, I have a lot personal stories to tell, and until now, as I discovered thus wonderful book, I did not realise, that I am, too a Naked Presenter.

Garr Reinolds is an American living in Japan, he wrote also another book that I liked a lot Zen of presenting. His new book, is even better and I already learned lot from it.

Just fresh out, Amazon send it to me as it appeared and I just finished reading it, and underlining what was most important for me, the first time. Now, I'll have to go back and begin to study it again, taking out what I have underlined while going through it the first time.

As the subtitle sais it, this book does not focus on "presentation" with slides, any public speaker, storyteller, presenter can learn from it.

The idea for presenting, with or without any slides, in front of the audience 'naked', is funny: just imagine yourself or me at 76, going out before an audience literally naked!

The idea of "naked" presentation came to the author from the way the Japanese bath together unclothed. I wonder if they do it also together, men and women working at the same place... but the metaphor is very strong, and he takes it very seriously.

Speaking without walls, barriers, without hiding, being open and vulnerable, and also, clean of what is not necessary. Well prepared but flexible, being there in the moment. Expressing feelings, speaking openly, with authenticity, almost as if it was one to one.

He suggests many wonderful tips with whom I agree and whom, mostly, I practice in my telling personal stories. But explains them better, and gives also new ideas!

Alas, never going over the time, that is not, yet, me. But from now on, after having read his book, and understand it better, I will try. As I'll try to apply others of his great suggestions.

I also understood better, through it the magic of the resonance, between the speaker and the audience, as we stand and speak and take energy and give energy and feelings to each other.

The Naked ¨presenter is very useful, underlining also, the huge importance of personal stores in any presentation or speech. Confirming what I already felt but going also farther.

Funny, also and easy to read, the chapters of the book can be very serious too.
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on February 17, 2011
I am a presenter and give training sessions to many people throughout the year. I am always looking to make my presentations more engaging and exciting.

Boy, as soon as I started reading this book I was Wow. I finished it within two days and took some notes. I wanted to educate our presenters at my Company about these presentation tips described by Garr. I already did and people loved it.

Whoever is in training or in a presentation capacity should buy this book, read it and take some notes and then apply it. You will be amazed.

The book is not boring either, Garr did a wonderful job writing it.
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on December 6, 2011
I enjoyed reading "The Naked Presenter," and thought it was a relatively quick read. I chose to read this book because I thought it would cover presentation skills, which I feel I am lacking in. Presenting is not something I like to do, and I hoped this book would offer some insight on how to calm my nerves a bit. I think the two key takeaways on how to do this are: 1) think of a presentation as a conversation, and 2) be yourself.
The author has some interesting views on preparation of a presentation that I have never thought of. I tend to start putting together Power Point slides as I create the presentation rather than sitting down in a quiet place and hammering it out on paper first, as he suggests doing. Reynolds also recommends defining the "why" rather than "what" when identifying the purpose of your presentation, which really makes sense if you think about it, and in a way, goes hand in hand with knowing your audience. You must first understand why people want to attend your presentation, and then build the "what" around the "why." I was taken a little off guard by the author saying to not have an agenda slide. However, I did like his idea of instead having a slide that shows "sections," and making them visually proportional to how long you plan on spending on each topic during the presentation.
When giving the presentation, I found that some of the tips he gave were pretty obvious like to arrive early to set up the room, and to not stand behind a podium if at all possible. I did enjoy reading the section on keynote speech tips taken from Steve Jobs, who I believe is one of the great presenters of our time. I also thought Reynolds' idea on shifting gears every 10 minutes was a good suggestion, and am glad he included ideas on how to mix things up. People tend to get bored easily, especially when sitting still listening to someone.
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on September 8, 2014
I read lots of books on public speaking and I think that If you want to develop or just improve your platform skills this is the best book to do that. It's very readable, loaded with excellent and useful tips.

It's a fast read as well. I've sent it to four other people as well. Each of them told me that they found this book to be very informative and helpful as well.

Money well spent. If you're serious about improving your skills as a presenter, this is where you should begin!
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on February 16, 2011
To someone who already read Reynolds's bestselling book Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery and is wondering if he/she should buy this because PZ already covers all important things about presentation, I would say "just go get it!"

I bought Presentation Zen about a year ago. It has completely changed my lectures within/outside my university, which resulted in more satisfaction of students and participants than ever.

To be honest, I didn't have enough time to prepare slides and handouts (not "sliduments") for every lecture to the extent I want them to be. But what was important to me was that I got to know what I should do for better classes, which I didn't even know until I read the book.
Reynolds's new book, The Naked Presenter, contains detailed explanation about the delivery stage, which is one of three steps of presentation: preparation, design, and delivery, all of which Presentation Zen covers.

Before I started reading the Naked Presenter, I suspected that nothing might be new to me since the Presentation Zen already covers important points about the delivery step as well. After reading the book, however, I learned that there are many things I can do to make my lectures and presentation more engaging.

When I read his earlier book Presentation Zen, I found it a book of "philosophy" about any kind of presentation, not "a step-by-step manual". The Naked Presenter gets into more details about the delivery process, but is still free from too many rules to memorize. Instead, it provides with a limited number of important principles, such as using proximity, varying pace, focusing on the here and now, and explain why these principles are so important and how we can embody these principles in the actual presentation with or WITHOUT slides. What makes this book so persuasive is that he shows evidence not only from his abundant experiences as a world's leading presenter but from research and presentation examples by experts in various fields, such as musicians, clinical psychologists, and educators.

Like his earlier books, this book is easy to read and amusing in spite of profound insights expressed in the book even for readers who reads English as a second language. This is because he use phrases specific to some cultural context with all possible caution and paraphrase them with simple expression.

Reynolds writes "When you present, you are trying to create change in people's minds." His earlier book Presentation Zen created changes in my lectures last year. I am sure the Naked Presenter will create changes in my lectures this year again.
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