I just finished Garr Reynold’s latest book, The Naked Presenter last night. Prior to writing anything further I have three confessions to make: 1) I am not a literary reviewer 2) I had unusually high expectations concerning this book and 3) I am a presentation geek. There… I have released myself from the inner turmoil of my soul. I can move on.
The book is outstanding, yet disappointing. I will begin with outstanding.
The Naked Presenter has seven chapters, each taking the reader through the process and nuance of presenting naked (and even presenting in general). Preparation begins as a key to success and I love Reynold’s approach to “going analog” in preparation. Creating and developing ideas and content cannot be accomplished effectively within the confines of PowerPoint or Keynote. I build my own presentations using sticky notes.
Sections on connecting and engaging bring in important points of view that go far beyond presentations and speeches entering into the world of everyday conversation and discussion. We learn what we already have observed that connection and passion cure many of the ills of boring subject matter or bad slides (which we are not encouraging in any way, shape or form, by the way). The book concludes by exposing us to effective finishing techniques (it concludes by showing us how to conclude).
I enjoy Reynold’s references to Japanese culture within the context of his work. I, like many westerners, are more than a bit captivated by eastern philosophy and culture and find it extremely interesting. The book is solid and overflowing with good information for everyone from the Tony Robbins’ of the world, to the boardroom exec presenting the latest facts and figures to a ninth grader orally sharing a book report. Therein lies my disappointment.
I was looking for a book where Reynolds spoke to me (which he did clearly in his previous masterpiece Presentation Zen). My hope for the next level of “zen” made this semi-basic book a bit anti-climatic. The emphasis was clearly on rounding out the presentation and grounding it in basics which was ….. wait for it…… precisely what I probably needed.
Reynolds, more than likely, was speaking directly to me. Okay dude, he was saying, you’ve spruced up your slides, you know all about creating the wonderful visual experience. Don’t forget that your presentation is more than your massively cool slides. Don’t forget what got you here. Message received.
I recommend The Naked Presenter to anyone who has to speak to others (that covers pretty much all of us)!