Book Review: slide:ology by Nancy Duarte

Taglines usually grab me more than titles. As creative as slide:ology is as a title, it was the tagline, “The art and science of creating great presentations” that grabbed me to read this book. It also helped I had come across Nancy Duarte’s blog and discovered that the art of great presentations begins with great story telling.

Nancy lays out her approach early in the book, “Every presenter has the potential to be great; every presentation is high stakes; and every audience deserves the absolute best.”

In pursuing that best, I read slide:ology and was not disappointed. Nancy emphasizes the importance of connecting with the audience, not merely communicating the presenter’s agenda. The goal is to create ideas, not merely great slides. There’s connection. There’s process. And for me, there’s a lot to learn.

I appreciated how Nancy walked me through steps in the presentation from conception to design to arrangement to engagement with the audience. One of my favorite parts was 5 principles to present your data in the clearest possible way:

1. Tell the truth.

2. Get to the point.

3. Pick the right tool for the job.

4. Highlight what’s important.

5. Keep it simple. (I liked this one best of all!)

If you are a novice like me when it comes to putting together presentations and you want to get better, this book is a great resource to read and to refer to on a regular basis.

I appreciated Nancy not forcing her philosophy of slide:ology but showing how great communicators like techno-evangelist Guy Kawasaki uses slides to pastors like John Ortberg. She even shared times the best use of slides is not to use them at all.

Content is not only key, but connection with the audience is king. Pictures are best used that tie into the message, and she showed how to make pictures best tie into the message.

I give Slide:ology 5 out of 5 stars. It is a reference I will refer to often and is a great tool for further growth in one’s presentation skills. The book delivered what it promised — the art and science of creating great presentations!

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Book Review: slide:ology by Nancy Duarte

  1. Pingback: Nancy Duarte’s Create Slides People Will Remember « fred zimny's serve4impact

  2. Thanks for the summary, Richard.

    Nice point about sometimes not using slides at all! One master of that approach is Brendon Burchard, and if you’re interested, here’s a sample video and an analysis of the techniques he uses:
    http://remotepossibilities.wordpress.com/2012/06/01/analog-presentation-tips-1-use-a-flipchart/

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