Presenting: Written References

About This Material

Hi. I'm Ric Bretschneider. For 17 years of my life I defined and managed the development of functionality within the Microsoft PowerPoint application. For a large part of that time I worked to help customers better understand how to use and benefit from the product that we worked so hard to produce. Through information we deny "death by PowerPoint."

And just because I've left Microsoft, it doesn't mean I've stopped. Books are the cheapest and most effective form of training you can buy. I sincerely hope you find a book or two to love among these, each has something special to give.

Presentation Zen

Garr Reynolds

  There's a reason Garr's amazing little book is first on this list. It's the one you can read in an afternoon. It's the one that speaks clearly and directly to the essence and necessity of clear communications.

If you only have time for one book, this is it.


Nancy Duarte

As much as Presentation Zen will help you understand the aspects of clear presentaitons, Slidelolgy will walk you through understanding how to work all the aspects of design, graphics, and information development, expanding your presentation toolbox by levels of magnatude.  Nancy is an amazing teacher.

Beyond Bullet

Cliff Atkinson

  One of the first of the "new breed" of presentation books, I had the pleasure of helping with the first outline draft while still at Microsoft. Cliff's methods are hardly dated though, the book has been regularly updated.  No matter what part of the process you're currently struggling with, his step-by-step sections are easily digested and retained.

Presenting to

Jerry Weissman 

  Jerry teaches CEO's and CFO's the presenting skills they need to pitch their companies during their stock IPO tours - a critical moment in any company's gestation.  Presenting to Win is about creating presentations that will compete in big business, and preparing you as well.


Echo Swinford
Julie Terberg

  There are probably about a dozen people in the world qualified to write this book, and two of them actually had the energy and information to sit down and do it.  Not only will you learn how PowerPoint background and layout inheritance works, but you'll get a crash course in desiging within PowerPoint as well as a touch of Office file format

Full disclosure: Ric Bretschneider was the technical editor for the book. He wasn't crazy enough to try to write it himself.

Made to Stick 

Chip Heath
Dan Heath

  The Heath brother's "sticky" guidebook is about crafting and delivering ideas that stay with your audience.  While not specifically about presenting, this is a quick and entertaining read that will expand your ability to understand making messages that move your audience and keep them moved! 


Scott McCloud 

  No, this is not an error.  Scott McCloud breaks down how comics, a sequential series of static images with sparse text blurbs, work as a storytelling method.

Wait, sequential images, sparse text?  Yes, there is an amazing amount of information in this book that will help you convert your own story into graphics, learn how to lay those graphics out, and entertain your audience.

Highly recommended for anyone who wants to up their game with a few surprises. 

Presentation Zen

Garr Reynolds 

  Garr returns to bring his Zen approach to teaching design in presentations.  A focus on harmony and balance, married with a simple and accessible style where the importance of each element is explained, demonstrated, and implemented. A terrific next step for those already among the Zen converted.


Nancy Duarte 

  Nancy Duarte's follow-up to Slideology, she blazes a new path into making your story move your audience to action; to make it Resonate with them. There's so much here to help you break out of mediocre slide by slide presenting and create a real connection with your audience.

The multimedia-enabled e-book version is now FREE.

The Naked

Garr Reynolds 

  The Return of the Jedi  of Garr Reynold's books focuses on the act of presenting. Standing naked in front of the audience using the tools of embracing the ideas of simplicity, clarity, honesty, integrity, and passion.

The Power Presenter

Jerry Weissman 

  Jerry returns and focuses on the act of standing in front of an audience and delivering your message. He shows you a seven-step plan for creating your story, and how to conquer your fear of speaking such that you present naturally fith force and conviction.  This is about turning the most fearful thing about presenting into a key tool in your aresenal.

In the Line of Fire

Jerry Weissman 

  Arguably a book for a more focused audience, Jerry details the art of taking difficult questions from your audience. This is an art, as it is much harder to prep than just delivering the presentation, and it is potentially much more a situation where your credibility will live or die with your successfully handling the dialogue.  Recommended for the executive presenter, and useful outside of the presentation theatre as well.

The HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations

Nancy Duarte 

  Harvard Business Review published this condensation of Nancy Duarte's prior writings, with a bit of new material, in a 5'x9' paperback that is the perfect traveling companion. I especially appreciate having it in my bag for those take-off and landing periods where I can't have my laptop out, but don't quite want to drop into a novel. A few minutes with Nancy and I'm refreshed and ready for my next presentation.

The Presentation
Zen Way

Garr Reynolds 

  This is the perfect gift package to introduce someone to Garr Reynolds Zen of Presenting.  It includes a DVD of him teaching preesentation techniques, and his elegantly simple storyboarding sketchbook. Wonderfully packaged, this is something you might give the man or woman who already has everything.

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