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Speaking PowerPoint: The New Language of Business [Paperback]

Bruce R. Gabrielle
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

10 Oct 2010
Create clear and convincing strategic plans, executive briefings, research reports and other boardroom-style slides. In the first book of its kind, author Bruce Gabrielle reviews 40 years of research from fields as diverse as information design, neuroscience, cognitive science, education, advertising, graphic design and the legal profession to learn the secrets of using visual communication to powerfully influence in the boardroom. Based on how the mind works, the MindWorks Presentation Method shows you how to create business slides that are clear, professional-looking and convincing, and can be your secret weapon for selling ideas like never before and winning in the idea marketplace.

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Speaking PowerPoint: The New Language of Business + Resonate: Present Visual Stories That Transform Audiences + Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery (Voices That Matter)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 310 pages
  • Publisher: Insights Publishing (10 Oct 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 098423604X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984236046
  • Product Dimensions: 25.4 x 20.3 x 1.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 87,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Bruce Gabrielle is president of Insights Works, a market research firm specializing in the high technology industry, where he regularly creates and presents boardroom-style slides to executives. Gabrielle leads workshops on the MindWorks Presentation Method for businesses, consulting firms, associations and educational institutions.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bruce Gabrielle articulates some of the best tips ever devised for PowerPoint in a way that is simple, effective and often genius. This book is a must-have for anyone who wants to create serious business presentations and get their message across brilliantly. This is the one book that sits on my desk at all times. Pure excellence. Speaking PowerPoint
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent guide to good presentations 29 July 2011
Format:Paperback
Finally a good book on how to create good, clear presentations, this is must-read for anyone entering or in the early days of consulting positions. My only regret is that I didn't have access to it some years ago! The author presents a well structured and well written approach to composing presentations for use in many situations, primarily for board-level audience presentations, but also including "ballroom" presentations. It was a pity that the illustrations weren't in colour (especially the chapter on, ironically, the use of colour in presentations!).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Using the full power of presentations to win 14 May 2011
Format:Paperback
I've recently finished reading Speaking PowerPoint by Bruce Gabrielle which I would recommend to anyone who needs to present information in order to reach a decision or build trust. The book is the first presentation book I've read that deals with the full range of presentation styles (reading decks, business decks, conference decks) and helps you understand how to formulate your arguments into a cohesive message that looks superb.

In a great easy to read format, spoiled only by the lack of colour, the book helps on how to build a story based on the evidence you have, how to present the story and then on the slides themselves includes excellent guidance and recommendations for using the correct style of title, the correct layout, the right amount of text, the appropriate use of colour and all of this without creating "powerpoint shock".

The book incorporates many real world examples of how presentations and presentation slides could be improved. The book also reminds us why it is so important given that even back 2,300 years Aristotle recognized that decisions were made based on logic and emotion. This book certainly has helped me present information more logically and use the look and feel of a presentation to win the emotions too.

I'd recommend you purchase the book. If you do I'd recommend you print the colour images before reading.
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Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  27 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A down-to-earth, pragmatical book for real-world presentations 12 Jan 2012
By El Arte de Presentar - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
PowerPoint and its infamous bullet points have been so abused in later years that the term "PowerPoint death" has become widespread, to the extent that some voices claim that PowerPoint is making us stupid or threatening our thinking and reasoning.
It's understandable that as a reaction some very popular books published in the last couple of years about presentations focused on creating minimalist slides, with stunning visuals and little text. These decks might be appropriate for ballroom-style presentations before large audiences expecting to be motivated and/or entertained.
However, the vast majority of presentations in the business world are boardroom-style presentations in which these design guidelines have little application. Bruce Gabrielle has written a book for the rest of us: the professionals who have to speak often in boardroom meetings before small, highly motivated audiences expecting lots of details and thorough information.
This type of "formal" presentations had been neglected and forgotten in previous literature. This book is fully oriented to people who have to create and deliver strategic plans, marketing plans, research reports, product planning decks, execution plans, program proposals and other business planning presentations.
Another differentiating feature of the book which I highly appreciated is the heavy use of results from cognitive science research to back up all its recommendations and guidelines. Whereas other books speak off the cuff, this one supports all its claims with solid evidence.
The book counts on a great number of carefully designed slides to illustrate the dos and don'ts of effective graphic communication. He even uses a fictional story of two characters creating a presentation from scratch to guide the reader in the difficult task of designing a persuasive business presentation.
Summing up, Speaking PowerPoint is a down-to-earth, pragmatical book which will help professionals take business presentations to the next level. If you're looking for just one book on presentation structure and design, look no more. This is the ONE.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More science than art, more USEFUL than most 15 Feb 2011
By M2K - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Having spent my entire professional career in either consulting or corporate strategy, I found this book extremely useful. It demystifies the process of creating Powerpoint decks and provides practical recommendations grounded on fundamental human behavior science. It has been a challenging journey when the way most of us learn to create decks is through an apprenticeship model. The learnings are all based on your boss's or firm's deck style. Often, the basis of your promotion depended on your ability to quickly adjust and learn how to create decks. Many hours were spent on relearning and being told that its more of an art than a science. I wish I had this book when I first started creating decks. The book is well written and offers additional references if you choose to dive deeper into a particular topic. I like how I can quickly find what I need and have examples to make the book's recommendations real. It's changed the way I create decks and has transformed the way my team approaches them today.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As much about clear thinking and communication as it is about PowerPoint 12 Oct 2011
By J. F. Malcolm - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Speaking PowerPoint is one of the best books on slide presentations I have seen in a long time because it is full of practical suggestions, solidly supported by evidence, and clearly and compellingly written.
But it's not for everyone. If you want to learn how to put together beautiful slides with stunning visuals to inspire or entertain, buy a book such as Nancy Duarte's Resonate or Garr Reynolds' Presentation Zen.
But if you want to sell ideas to critical thinkers, Speaking PowerPoint will help. To see where this book fits and why it is so important, let's first look at the situations where PowerPoint decks can be deployed:
At the extreme right of the scale are the ballroom style presentations, which are presented to large audiences. Think of Steve Jobs doing a new product launch. In these types of presentations, the speaker does all the talking, supplies almost of all the words, and uses compelling visuals to add to the emotional impact.
Moving to the left, you have what Gabrielle calls briefing decks, which are used in boardroom settings; the audience is much smaller, but still may include up to about twenty people. The speaker is still doing most of the talking, but there is some interactivity.
Discussion decks are used in boardrooms as well, but the audience might be in the single digits. The presenter still does most of the talking, at least at first, but the primary purpose is a full-participation discussion with a lot of interaction.
Finally, a reading deck can be used as a document, meant to be read individually either on paper or on a screen. In this situation, the deck has to stand alone and convey all the important information by itself.
Speaking PowerPoint is intended for decks on the left side of the scale. The difference with these decks is that the audience is more cognitively engaged. Ballroom audiences might be happy being entertained or motivated, but speakers in most business situations expect strong logic and solid evidence, and might need lots of it before they're convinced. This book shows you how to deliver it without committing the standard PowerPoint sins of too much text and confusing clutter.
I've always thought that the most important phase of creating a slide deck occurs before you even open up the application, so I was happy to see that Gabrielle's first section has four chapters devoted to putting your argument together. You first figure out what you want to say by putting yourself into the reader's position and figuring out what is the main question they want answered. (The book uses the word reader, which gives you an indication of where its main focus is.) Next, you structure the main points that support the key theme, and then add the evidence that strengthens your points.
Once you've done all this, you might think it's finally time to crank up the laptop, but that would be a mistake. Gabrielle offers compelling reasons and evidence why you can do better thinking on paper than in slides. Time spent up front on paper will repay itself many times over by time saved during the creation of the slides.
Section 2 turns to the content on the slides themselves. The book explains the best way to write a headline instead of a title, how to break your content into chunks of information that your audience can comfortably process, and various ways to use pictures to make your presentation more understandable, memorable and persuasive.
He might get a little carried away with showing off his knowledge here, as when he talks about "K-maps" for three pages when all he means is "diagrams", but that's a mere quibble. In fact, the book is extremely well-supported by research, which adds tremendous credibility to Gabrielle's own experience and also suggest numerous useful sources for those who want to learn more about each topic.
The last section does a decent job covering design, although the books by Duarte and Reynolds mentioned above cover the topic far more comprehensively. But Chapter 12, Picture and Wallpaper, is definitely well worth reading. It teaches how to guide the reader's (or listener's) eye to what is important. My favorite insight was the idea that the best way to highlight the main point is not to add but to subtract. In other words, don't make the text or the line on the graph brighter or larger than the other information, but instead to make the supporting information less prominent, by shrinking or subduing it. The supporting information becomes "wallpaper", which enhances the presentation of the picture. Of course, this supposes that you know what the main point of the slide is, and this takes us back to your careful crafting of your story.
That one insight was very timely for me, because a day after I read it last week one of the participants in my presentations class showed me a fairly busy slide and asked for my suggestions for enhancement. I suggested that he try graying out most of the text and keep the main points in black text. The result was a much clearer slide, without a lot of visual elements competing for attention.
I love it when I can take a practical suggestion from a book that makes a difference in my work. You will probably find many others that do the same for you; if you're serious about selling your ideas in business, this book is a definite asset.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant compromise to end the PowerPoint wars 14 Jun 2013
By Erik Eisel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I find the ideas in Bruce's book brilliant: his distinction between ballroom-style and boardroom-style presentations has cleared up a lot of confusion on my part. As someone who has heavily invested himself in learning the craft of writing, I have always been irked by the imperatives of the "Death by Powerpoint" community who have railed against "text-heavy" and "bullet-pointed" slides in favor of pretty little pictures accompanied by almost no text. It has always seemed to me that what these people have been judging is bad writing not bad PPT design.

Bruce's emphasis on storyboarding and his defense of slides with a picture and minimal "well-written" text is a workable compromise, and something I can teach to the engineers and operations folks who I train.

Finally, his initial comment that the first slide should begin with a "thesis" with a "because-statement" is something I have been teaching for years with little support. I am so glad that I have finally found support on this point from a knowledgeable researcher like Bruce.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely useful, easily applied 28 Mar 2011
By ABA - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
From the first day I picked up the book, I began applying its principles. For companies who use PowerPoint to communicate, Gabrielle's writing is an extremely valuable tool to elevate the facts and key messages (and the hence the discussion) of important business decisions. I have used this book to coach corporate "story-telling" with my team, and will continue to frequently reference it when building my own presentations. Thank you for writing such a clear, easily applied guide!
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