Product Cover Image

Presentation Patterns: Techniques for Crafting Better Presentations

By Neal Ford, Matthew McCullough, Nathaniel Schutta

Published by Addison-Wesley Professional

Published Date: Aug 15, 2012


This is the eBook version of the printed book.

You spent years in school learning math, language, and writing skills, and you use that training every time you open a spreadsheet or word processor.But you weren't given years of instruction on building and delivering effective presentations, yet they have supplanted spreadsheets and documents in most organizations as the primary communication tool. If you are lucky, you were sent to a 2 day class on PowerPoint and now you're assumed to be an expert presenter. We have bad news for you: you aren't. But we can help. We've presented to diverse audiences for a decade, distilling that experience into pragmatic techniques you can use to make your presentations a smooth, engaging, and informative experience for your audience.

You've read about how presentations are like a state of mind, how color wheels work, and what type of isolated high-resolution stock photos to obtain, but how is that helping you with the marketing presentation due next week? You are holding the answers, derived from thousands of hours of presentations by the authors. This is the first book on presentations that categorizes and organizes the building blocks, which we call patterns, that you'll need to communicate effectively using presentation tools. We show you how to handle a wide variety of presentation types, audiences, constraints, and even surprises. Unlike other books, we show you what not to do (anti-patterns). These are just as important as the positive recommendations; modern presentation tools seduce you to do bad things and we show you how to avoid them.

Why "patterns"? Isn't a pattern the same thing as a recipe? There are two reasons we chose the "pattern" metaphor rather than the more familiar "recipe". First, patterns operate at a lower level than recipes. A recipe has steps, and the steps consist of instructions like "saute" or "peel". Patterns are like the lower-level steps found inside recipes; they are the techniques you must master to be considered a master chef or master presenter. You can use the patterns in this book to construct your own recipes for different contexts such as business meetings, technical demonstrations, scientific expositions and keynotes, just to name a few. Abstracting ideas to the level of patterns allow us to encompass all types of presentations. The second reason we prefer "pattern" to "recipe" is the concept fo anti-pattern: there are no such things as anti-recipes, but we show lots of anti-patterns, things you should avoid doing in presentations. Unfortunately, modern tools encourage ineffective presentation techniques, and we call them out as anti-patterns.

You need to create a presentation that some people are going to watch live but others need to "thumb though" it -- how can you make it effective for both audiences? How do you handle flaky Internet connections during that critical showcase to your customers? How do you construct a narrative arc that sells your idea most effectively? How is the best way to organize your thoughts for the upcoming class presentation? And how do you improve your chances for a good grade on it? How do you deal with graphics mixed with company "floodmarks" on your slides? We answer these questions and many more (including some you didn't know to ask), all with concrete advice, using the same tools you'll use (we illustrate all the examples in both PowerPoint and Keynote). This book is the most object, analytical way to create killer presentations.


Table of Contents

List of Figures ix


Introduction 1

Origins 2

Toward Patterns 3

How This Book Is Organized 10

How to Use This Book 11

Summary 11


Part I: Prepare 13


Chapter 1: Presentation Prelude Patterns 15

Pattern: Know Your Audience 16

Pattern: Social Media Advertising 18

Pattern: Required 20

Pattern: The Big Why 22

Pattern: Proposed 24

Antipattern: Abstract Attorney 26


Chapter 2: Creativity Patterns 29

Pattern: Narrative Arc 30

Pattern: Fourthought 34

Pattern: Crucible 38

Pattern: Concurrent Creation 41

Pattern: Triad 43

Pattern: Expansion Joints 45

Pattern: Talklet 46

Pattern: Unifying Visual Theme 48

Pattern: Brain Breaks 51

Antipattern: Alienating Artifact 53

Antipattern: Celery 56

Pattern: Leet Grammars 58

Pattern: Lightning Talk 59

Pattern: Takahashi 60

Pattern: Cave Painting 62


Part II: Build 65


Chapter 3: Slide Construction Patterns 67

Antipattern: Cookie Cutter 68

Pattern: Coda 70

Antipattern: Injured Outlines 71

Pattern: Peer Review 72

Pattern: Foreshadowing 75

Antipattern: Bullet-Riddled Corpse 77

Pattern: Greek Chorus 80

Antipattern: Ant Fonts 81

Antipattern: Fontaholic 83

Antipattern: Floodmarks 86

Antipattern: Photomaniac 89

Pattern: Composite Animation 92

Pattern: Á la Carte Content 95

Pattern: Analog Noise 99

Pattern: Vacation Photos 104

Pattern: Defy Defaults 106

Antipattern: Borrowed Shoes 108


Chapter 4: Temporal Patterns 111

Antipattern: Slideuments 112

Pattern: Infodeck 114

Pattern: Gradual Consistency 116

Pattern: Charred Trail 120

Pattern: Exuberant Title Top 123

Pattern: Invisibility 127

Pattern: Context Keeper 131

Pattern: Breadcrumbs 133

Pattern: Bookends 135

Pattern: Soft Transitions 137

Pattern: Intermezzi 139

Pattern: Backtracking 141

Pattern: Preroll 142

Pattern: Crawling Credits 143


Chapter 5: Demonstrations versus Presentations 145

Pattern: Live Demo 147

Antipattern: Dead Demo 151

Pattern: Lipsync 154

Pattern: Traveling Highlights 157

Pattern: Crawling Code 162

Pattern: Emergence 164

Pattern: Live on Tape 165


Part III: Deliver 169


Chapter 6: Stage Prep 171

Pattern: Preparation 172

Pattern: Posse 174

Pattern: Seeding Satisfaction 175

Pattern: Display of High Value 177

Antipattern: Shortchanged 181


Chapter 7: Performance Antipatterns 183

Antipattern: Hiccup Words 184

Antipattern: Disowning Your Topic 186

Antipattern: Lipstick on a Pig 187

Antipattern: Tower of Babble 188

Antipattern: Bunker 190

Antipattern: Hecklers 191

Antipattern: Going Meta 193

Antipattern: Backchannel 195

Antipattern: Laser Weapons 197

Antipattern: Negative Ignorance 199

Antipattern: Dual-Headed Monster 200

Chapter 8: Performance Patterns 203

Pattern: Carnegie Hall 204

Pattern: Emotional State 207

Pattern: Breathing Room 208

Pattern: Shoeless 209

Pattern: Mentor 210

Pattern: Weatherman 211

Pattern: Seeding the First Question 214

Pattern: Make It Rain 215

Pattern: Entertainment 216

Pattern: The Stakeout 218

Pattern: Lightsaber 219

Pattern: Echo Chamber 221

Pattern: Red, Yellow, Green 222


Conclusion 225

Patterns Redux 225

Build Your Own . . . 226

Summary 228


Glossary of Patterns 229

Resources 241

Credits 243

Notes 251

Index 255

Purchase Info

ISBN-10: 0-13-296339-6

ISBN-13: 978-0-13-296339-8

Format: eBook (Watermarked)?

This eBook includes the following formats, accessible from your Account page after purchase:

ePubEPUBThe open industry format known for its reflowable content and usability on supported mobile devices.

MOBIMOBIThe eBook format compatible with the Amazon Kindle and Amazon Kindle applications.

Adobe ReaderPDFThe popular standard, used most often with the free Adobe® Reader® software.

This eBook requires no passwords or activation to read. We customize your eBook by discretely watermarking it with your name, making it uniquely yours.

Includes EPUB, MOBI, and PDF


Add to Cart