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Presentation Patterns: Techniques for Crafting Better Presentations Paperback – August 25, 2012
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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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com and on Twitter at @ntschutta.
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Top Customer Reviews
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. It covers the entire process from the inception of the presentation, to building it, to delivering it. The process helps you think about presentations the right way for the given part of the process you are in. The book does not skimp on the building of the presentation. There are tons of pointers on how to correctly layout and structure the presentation. The book also include interludes that help put the pattern into context.
The authors don't only list positive ways to improve your presentations, they also list a ton of Antipatterns along the way. An example of an Antipattern is dealing with hecklers. I have personal experience with them and this book is spot on with how to deal with them.
My favorite part of the book is that it was written by technologists. As a software architect one of the most critical aspects of my job is to communicate efficiently and clearly to a diverse audience. Following the advice in this book will definitely help with that in the future.
All in all I highly recommend this book to every Enterprise and Software Architect. The authors speak our language and have laid the book out in a very comfortable format. I also recommend it to anyone that has to do presentations. It is a great compilation of advice on how to deliver successful presentations.
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.
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).
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.
As they show, not all presentations are the same -- as audiences and motivations for trying to convey information to others vary. But never have I seen such new and fresh ideas arranged in such a useful way to help others less skilled than these seasoned professionals achieve their own goals in team settings, management meetings, customer information exchanges, sales pitches, and public training or convention venues.
In reality, there are many of us who know important content that is worth sharing, but unless we can transfer that in a way that opens the audience to understand it, retain it, use it, and even enjoy the process, it remains locked within us as the original owners. Following these techniques clearly outlined in Presentation Patterns, we can learn to improve our own presentation processes and achieve the goals for which we undertook sharing the information. A "must read" if you intend to speak to groups!
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