Two communication trainers attempt to redefine the concept of business presentations.
Given the way business is changing in an age of digital communications and social media, it was probably inevitable that someone would take a fresh look at live, in-person presentations. According to Ludwig and Owen-Boger, who professionally offer training in presentation skills, “much of what you have been taught about presenting has to be replaced.” The authors believe that people shouldn’t give speeches, but have conversations—“an exchange between a presenter and an audience.” They employ a nonthreatening method, and cleverly format the book to effectively immerse readers in their training techniques. Readers follow eight people, each with his or her own needs and objectives, as they go through a presentation training workshop. The authors describe the background of each participant (such as Terry, a new IT director who’s “[n]ervous with executive leadership,” or Luis, an entrepreneur who wants to “[p]roject a professional image”) and show how each learns new skills to alleviate his or her concerns. Along the way, readers are sure to identify with one or more of the participants, and relate to some of the challenges they face in their organizations. In addition to the book’s nice balance of explanation and demonstration, it has other novel features that make it stand out. For example, the authors use two different typefaces to identify themselves when they “speak,” and precede each chapter with key bullet points (much like presentation slides). The book uses graphics such as handwritten name cards, Post-it notes and flip charts to enhance the realism of the workshop environment, as well as helpful sidebars that address specific questions (such as, “How long should I pause?” and “How can I eliminate ‘ums’?”). The overall effect is both practical and involving.
A skillfully written, professionally designed guide that offers tips and strategies that should resonate with anyone in a business setting.