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Book Review

Book Review: Presentation Patterns

Techniques for Crafting Better Presentations

Being a consultant has landed me in a ton of different roles. Sometimes those roles required giving a lot of presentations and some of them did not require me to give any. A few of those positions had me using PowerPoint more than Visual Studio. There were also a few that wanted the presentations recorded live and some made without an audience.

I have presented enough now that I don't mind presenting at all, but that doesn't mean my audience always likes sitting through the presentations I create. I have never had food thrown at me, but I have seen the zombie gaze staring back at me as though I had successfully pulled off mass hypnosis. This usually happens when I have a mixed audience and I am not targeting a mixed audience. Sometimes things are too technical, boring the end user and managers, and sometimes they aren't technical enough boring the developers.

This book offers a ton of advice on how to not to preform mass hypnosis on your audience. It is a well organized catalog patterns that provides sound advice for designing, creating, and delivering your presentations.

It is broken down into three parts. The parts of the book coincide with the parts of the recommended process to follow when creating presentations. I have listed the parts and the chapters they contain below.

Part I: Prepare
Chapter 1. Presentation Prelude Patterns
Chapter 2. Creativity Patterns

Part II: Build
Chapter 3. Slide Construction Patterns
Chapter 4. Temporal Patterns
Chapter 5. Demonstrations versus Presentations

Part III: Deliver
Chapter 6. Stage Prep
Chapter 7. Performance Antipatterns
Chapter 8. Performance Patterns

I like the way the book is structured. It covers the entire process from the inception of the presentation, to building it, to delivering it. The process helps you think about presentations the right way for the given part of the process you are in. The book does not skimp on the building of the presentation. There are tons of pointers on how to correctly layout and structure the presentation. The book also include interludes that help put the pattern into context.

The authors don't only list positive ways to improve your presentations, they also list a ton of Antipatterns along the way. An example of an Antipattern is dealing with hecklers. I have personal experience with them and this book is spot on with how to deal with them.

My favorite part of the book is that it was written by technologists. As a software architect one of the most critical aspects of my job is to communicate efficiently and clearly to a diverse audience. Following the advice in this book will definitely help with that in the future.

All in all I highly recommend this book to every Enterprise and Software Architect. The authors speak our language and have laid the book out in a very comfortable format. I also recommend it to anyone that has to do presentations. It is a great compilation of advice on how to deliver successful presentations.

Presentation Patterns: Techniques for Crafting Better Presentations

More Stories By Tad Anderson

Tad Anderson has been doing Software Architecture for 18 years and Enterprise Architecture for the past few.