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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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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!
A pattern, to me, is a set of recurring events/objects/elements. The elements of a pattern repeat in a predictable manner. So I was assuming that this book is an anatomy of GREAT PRESENTATIONS, boiled down to something really simple for others to follow and replicate. I was expecting something like this:
PATTERN #26 - SALES PRESENTATION
1 - Relive the PAIN - help your prospects see, feel, hear, the PAIN they might have (1) previously ignored , (2) accustomed to or (3)paid a price to tolerate.
2 - Confirm your understanding of their DECISION CRITERIA - knowing what is of value to your prospect
3 - LINK your product / service to their VALUES
4 - Support your claim with data, proof and EVIDENCE
Anyway, I've got a book full of actionable guidelines and techniques for crafting better presentations. So the word "PATTERNS" and "ANTI-PATTERNS" here mean "DO'S and DON'TS".
- Comprehensive, well-researched
- Source provided to extend your knowledge
- Some concepts are well-illustrated using screen shots, diagrams and photos
- You don't have to read it in sequence, jump to any page and learn something useful
- Great examples for technical professionals
- Confusing book title (Great Marketing though)
- All patterns are given a name and the names are just too gimmicky. "Cookie Cutter", "Bullet-Riddled Corpse", "Dual-headed Monster", "Live on Tape", etc.
- Some of the materials are "over-stretched", perhaps the authors have set straight guidelines for their writings, so as to ensure consistency among chapters. This is especially important when there are a few co-authors. (is it a pattern or anti-pattern?)
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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