As the day of your presentation approaches, you may find yourself second-guessing many of your decisions.
Your information is good. You’ve spent a long time refining your message. Yet, you feel your presentation falling flat when you rehearse it. Long stretches of information-dumping will put your audience to sleep, but you aren’t sure how to get around this.
Or maybe you feel confident in your delivery but wonder if your visual approach is strong enough to really capture the audience’s attention. You’re not an artist, but you’ve seen others give beautiful presentations with little training.
How can you pull all the pieces together quickly and deliver a presentation that is both informative and entertaining? Here are five presentation skills books that will make you a better presenter overnight.
If you don’t have the time to go through the list, you can also take a look at this awesome 5-minute primer on how to be a better presenter by the YouTuber Crystal Clues:
- Storytelling is king. You’ll want a powerful narrative to hook, entertain, and educate your audience.
- Don’t neglect the visual aspect. Presentations are half visual. Learn how to create visual interest, and you’ll have a leg up.
- Build your confidence. Don’t be afraid that things will go wrong – they will! It’s how you respond to the unexpected that makes you a great public speaker.
1. Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences, by Nancy Duarte
Nancy Duarte is a well-known presentation expert with decades of success. If you’ve seen the movie An Inconvenient Truth, you’re already familiar with some of her work. She designed the famous slides Al Gore uses in the movie.
An Inconvenient Truth is a fantastic visual storytelling that compels the audience to act, a theme that Duarte explores in-depth in this book. Duarte will teach you how to use the art of storytelling to connect with your audience on a deeper level.
While business storytelling is the focus, Nancy also presents a unique paradigm by helping the reader understand how to make the audience the hero of the story. Learn how to transform yourself into the narrator of a moving tale and inspire your audience to action.
2. Confessions of a Public Speaker, by Scott Berkum
The author, Scott is a famous public speaker known for his charm, humor, and ability to entertain an audience while giving stellar presentations. His book, Confessions, is no exception to this. It’s hilarious, engaging, and filled with first-hand stories of disasters, heartaches, and redemption that will inspire the reader and build confidence.
Berkum also fills the pages with practical advice such as what to do when things go wrong. Butterflies? Tough crowd? Technical problems? Berkum will guide you through every scenario in advance so you can take the stage with the confidence needed to impress and entertain.
If you’re one of the 15-30% of people who struggle with anxiety over public speaking, pick up Confessions of a Public Speaker.
3. Interaction of Color, by Josef Albers
Do not neglect the visual aspect of your presentation. Even a great story can fall flat if there is no visual interest to keep your audience engaged. Keeping a consistent brand framework with visually interesting slides is a challenge for many.
Interaction of Color is technically an art book, but it’s not for artists only. It’s a classic text renowned in many fields for its breakdowns of color theory and the psychology of how humans engage with color.
Interactions can serve as a guide for creating gorgeous presentations with eye-popping colors that are appropriate for any style or message.
4. The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, by Carmine Gallo
Steve Jobs was one of the most successful and innovative presenters of the modern era. In fact, most if not all of Apple’s initial success could be attributed to Jobs’ ability to captivate an audience and turn his message (and product) into one of transformational importance.
Carmine Gallo studies some of Jobs’ most important presentations and breaks down what made them so successful into several digestible bits that anyone can apply to their presentations.
To become an expert at something, it’s best to learn from the very best. Gallo understood this, and his efforts in this book are to bring the late speaker into the forefront of your imagination so that you can dialogue with him and learn his secrets to presentation success.
5. Putting Stories to Work, by Shawn Callahan
Shawn Callahan is a master storyteller, and his book is an expert-level insight into how to weave stories into business presentations.
Like Duarte’s book Resonate, Shawn explains how and why to use stories to trigger deep emotional responses in your audience. The book has plenty of practical explanations and lays out a clear, step-by-step process for creating and delivering business presentations.
The book is a breeze to read thanks to Callahan’s storytelling prowess. The practical advice it offers means that anyone can learn and apply his principles to become a better presenter in just a few hours.
BONUS eBook: Seven Keys to Ace Executive Presentations by Prezent
Prezent’s free eBook offers a comprehensive step-by-step guide for presenting to a room of c-suite executives. Our team of industry insiders gives expert advice on how to deliver effective visual communication from the planning stage all the way through to delivery.
Our eBook is short and sweet, with easily digestible infographic content that can be finished in just 10 minutes. It’s overflowing with actionable tips you can use to complement our presentation platform.
Best of all, the book is free to our readers!
Download our eBook now for a quick guide to becoming a better presenter.