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The Naked Presenter: Delivering Powerful Presentations With or Without Slides (Voices That Matter) Paperback – December 9, 2010
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“ Many books about presentation delivery cover simple topics like eye contact and gestures. Garr’s book goes much deeper, highlighting Zen concepts that address meaningful ways to connect credibly with an audience. It’s a must-read for anyone who has to give presentations. ”
Nancy Duarte, CEO of Duarte Design and author of slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations and Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences
“ I take everything Garr Reynolds says to heart. I don’t read his books, I devour them from the inside out. The Naked Presenter is a book whose time has come. Shedding everything to focus on the audience and the content is the true secret to great presentations. Now, Garr is sharing that secret (and how to do it) with the world. ”
Mitch Joel, President of Twist Image and author of Six Pixels of Separation
From the Back Cover
In his first two best-selling books" Presentation Zen" and "Presentation Zen Design, " Garr Reynolds gave readers the necessary tools for planning and designing successful presentations. Establishing the framework for beautifully designed and well-prepared presentations, he now examines the delivery of the presentation in this handy, beautiful, and simple guide.
The Naked Presenter" teaches readers how they can reach an audience by stripping away all that is unnecessary to get at the essence of the message. The naked presenter approaches the presentation task embracing the ideas of simplicity, clarity, honesty, integrity, and passion. She presents with a certain freshness. The ideas may or may not be radical, earth shattering, or new. But there is a "newness" and freshness to her approach and to her content. And if she uses slideware, her slides fit well with her talk and are harmonious with her message. The slides are in sync, and are simple and beautifully designed, yet never steal the show or rise above serving a strong but simple supportive role.
In this book, readers will learn how to achieve that balance and gain the skills to deliver presentations that are natural and memorable.
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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
The book illustrates a great balance of story-telling, technique-teaching, including special insets from world-class speakers, and summarizing the most important points at the end of each chapter. I got a lot from the bamboo lessons on flexibility and strength and from the other illustrations on martial arts and Japanese culture.
Overall, this is one of the better and more useful business books that I've read. It's a beautifully designed and illustrated book. Granville Toogood, in The New Articulate Executive: Look, Act and Sound Like a Leader, says that personal communication is a lost and dying art in the workplace. The Naked Presenter effectively reminds us of the elements of public speaking that go together to make a memorable presentation. If you are communicating to any audience, formally or informally, the principles in this book will help you win.
This summer I took a public speaking class in which I was required to read this book. I wasn't thrilled about the book at first, but I certainly grew to like it within the first few chapters. The principles that Garr Reynolds covers in The Naked Presenter helped me to relax, be myself, and focus on providing value to the audience by engaging them. I recently had an opportunity to apply what I had learned, and after the presentation I was repaid with extremely positive feedback from several audience members and managers.