How To Be A Presentation God by Scott Schwertly sells itself as a book that will teach you how to “build, design, and deliver presentations that dominate! But does it deliver? My answer is…below. (I’m not giving my secrets away that easily!) But first I want to say this: I won How To Be A Presentation God from Michael Hyatt. I was never asked to review it or to give it a positive review.
At 253 pages this isn’t a massive book. Scott has broken it down into 5 sections:
- the new era of presentations
Each section deals with a different part of presenting.
The New Era of Presentations
This section deals with how to think about presenting. I wrote about this a few weeks ago but to recap, his main point is presenters need to be extraordinary.
Did you know that the human mind can make a judgment in 7 seconds? The opening of any dialogue is vital. Do you want to convince someone to buy your product? Do you want to get that job? Do you want them to keep reading your blog? Then you need to help them perceive you as interesting. And as Scott points out, “though empirical evidence is valuable, it is also uninspired;” More than facts and charts are needed – the audience needs to like you.
This section is about what you can do to make that happen.You must be a “humble expert” who is “like them while being different”. Not an easy task.
Scott gives plenty of tips and tricks to help you get there. He uses presenters like Steve Jobs, Malcolm Gladwell, and Abraham Lincoln to show how the ideas of this section can be used to create amazing presentations.
Content is why your audience is listening.
The problem with content is most presenters don’t think about what their audience wants to hear.
“The cardinal sin of presenting is failing to address the presentation’s objectives.” –Scott Schertly
Many presenters will talk for 45 minutes introducing a concept and then spend the last 15 minutes talking about what the audience came there for. Your audience doesn’t need to know everything, they just need to get the idea. Everything should revolve around this.
I once heard it put this way, “Know what you want to say. Say exactly that.” Missing this is the main problem for most presenters.
Once you know what you want to say, Scott goes through methods and ideas for molding that content into a presentation that will keep audience on the edge of their seat. There is way too much in this section to dive into here, so I’ll offer you the book and let you find out. This part is solid gold for writers and speakers.
I was a little disappointed with the design section. Although Scott gives several tools to help the design process, he talks very little about what makes a good design and what makes a bad one.
He does talk about the dreaded bullet point. If you learn one thing from this book it’s that you should never use PowerPoint bullets.
I can see how the info in this section will help me on the blog and as a speaker, but I still wish he had spent more time giving examples of a good vs bad design.
If you have stage fright, or aren’t sure why Steve Jobs looks so in control on stage while you look like a spaz, this is the chapter for you. Scott dives into the verbal and non-verbal parts of presenting. He writes in depth about how even when you don’t say a word, you are still a chatterbox. Your body language, the clothes you wear, and the tools you use all speaks volumes to the audience.
It is a great section that’s perfect for beginning presenters as well as those who have some experience.
This is the final chapter. He uses it to sum up everything he’s said before and then encourage us to put ourselves out there and present!
In addition, he reminds us that at the end of the day, content, design, and even delivery are only as interesting as the person presenting. You have to put yourself into the process or the audience won’t listen.
Overall I really enjoyed How To Be A Presentation God. It’s one of those few books I’ll return to time and time again. The ideas for building content, designing a slide deck, and delivering a “god like” presentation are fantastic.
The only critique I have is in the design section. I wish he would have given more examples of good design. The principles he offers are good, but concrete examples would have been helpful.
Even so, I loved reading the book. If you want to be a successful blogger, if you are job hunting, if you are an entrepreneur, if you have to present to your boss or your friend or even to your spouse then you should buy this book and read it cover-to-cover.
Following Scott Schwertly’s guidelines will revolutionize the way you present.
It has already helped me.