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Presentation Patterns: Techniques for Crafting Better Presentations Paperback – August 25, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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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 nealford.com. He welcomes feedback and can be reached at nford@thoughtworks.com, 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 matthewm@ambientideas.com 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 ntschutta@gmail.com and on Twitter at @ntschutta.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (August 25, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321820800
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321820808
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 0.6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #535,465 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By T Anderson VINE VOICE on September 19, 2012
Format: Paperback
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.
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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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I read this after several different people recommended it. I thought I didn't need to read it because I'd read Duarte and several others. I was wrong. This book provides a practical vocabulary for thinking about presentations that simplifies construction, philosophy, and presentation, and includes many useful technical tips and examples with instructions for Keynote and PowerPoint
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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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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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Format: Paperback
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 disappointment (and when you are not, you truly experience the death by a thousand slides). It is so rare to witness truly great presentations that I can easily remember most of them even after a decade. It is very easy to criticize a bad presentation and the presenter, but until this book, it was not that easy to point to a real solution.

I'm so happy that I can simply tell most of the presenters, hopefully before they unleash their minutes and slides of boredom and confusion on me and my fellow sleepers, to go and read this book twice, if not at least three times. But before I hit them on the head with this book (especially the software developers, who mostly believe that practicing something means giving a good and noteworthy presentation about it, even though they have witnessed uncountable evidence against it), I plan to read it for the second time, and then for the third time. And probably every time before I prepare a presentation, until I gather enough evidence to let me think that I'm capable enough to write a book that is even better.

The book is really about 'just stuff, no fluff', and staying loyal to its premise, it succeeds to provide the reader with concrete advice and step-by-step explanations for very effective presentations. It will probably not turn your next presentation into the keynote of the century, but it will definitely take you a few steps further ahead.
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