Presentations by David Sparks

Presentations by David Sparks

MacSparkyThis is a slight departure from the normal DocumentSnap paperless subject, but it is a topic that I’m passionate about so I hope you will indulge me.

Plus, there is a giveaway at the end of this post!

Over the past few years, doing presentations at conferences, meetings, and webinars has become a larger and larger part of what I do.

The more of these events that I attend, the more terrible presentations I witness. I don’t think anyone intentionally gives a bad talk – I think people just don’t think about it.

They fire up Powerpoint, type out their bullets, and when the time comes they get up there and read their brilliant words off the projector.

On the flip side, sometimes we attend a talk and it is amazing. The speaker is engaging, the visuals are perfect, and the whole thing is just seamless. We think to ourselves “wow, that person is such a good speaker” as if they were born that way.

The fact is, giving a presentation of any kind is a craft, and it is something that can be learned by anyone.

The Presentations Field Guide

I have had the pleasure of viewing a number of talks by David Sparks at Macworld. Some of you may be familiar with David’s work at MacSparky or Mac Power Users, but he also has a series of Field Guides that he publishes. I’ve written about his Paperless Guide and Email Guide before.

The newest Field Guide is called Presentations and it is another winner. I was provided with a review copy, but I also went out and bought it.

It isn’t just a technical guide on giving good presentations, but talks about:

  • What is wrong with most of the presentations we are forced to sit through.
  • How to use story to make your presentation something that people actually care about.
  • How to master Keynote, Apple’s presentation software.
  • How to get ready for presentation day and what to do once it arrives.

While it does touch on Powerpoint and some other software packages, it mainly focuses on Keynote.

If you are a Windows user and/or don’t use Keynote I think the book is still worth it, but that is something to be aware of.

I am a Keynote user, but I am more of a hack. I do what I need to do to put my slides together, but more often than not I don’t really know what I’m doing. The Keynote chapter has been great for me.

Like all of David’s other Field Guides, Presentations is best viewed on an iPad using iBooks. Calling it a “book” doesn’t really do it justice as it is packed with screencasts, images, and other interactive elements.

If you don’t have an iPad, you can buy it in PDF format and still have access to all of the videos and other materials.

As you can tell, I’m a big fan of the Presentations Field Guide, and if you give presentations of any kind, it is worth the $9.99. It is available in the iBooks store or directly from David’s site if you want the PDF version.

Presentations Giveaway

David hooked me up with five copies of Presentations for iBooks. You’ll need an iPad or Mac with the iBooks app to view them.

Here is how it will work: Leave a comment below telling us about an awesome presentation you’ve seen either live or online.

Make sure you put a working email address in the email field (don’t worry – only I will be able to see it) and I will provide the first five entries with a free copy of the iBooks version of Presentations. Good luck!

About the Author

Brooks Duncan helps individuals and small businesses go paperless. He's been an accountant, a software developer, a manager in a very large corporation, and has run DocumentSnap since 2008. You can find Brooks on Twitter at @documentsnap or @brooksduncan. Thanks for stopping by.

Leave a Reply 10 comments

Deron - August 14, 2014 Reply

Well, despite your reservations about your own Keynote skills, I thoroughly enjoyed your presentation on paperless techniques at this year’s NAPO conference. And that was a combination of things: your slides that featured no bullet-points but Flickr creative common Lego images, a direct and clear message about the paperless path that didn’t overwhelm or bore, and your verbal dexterity in improvising jokes like, “You can tell I’m Canadian, because I say “please” to the computer.”

The Paperless Conference - August 12, 2014 Reply

[…] recently ranted about presentations here. […]

Phil - August 8, 2014 Reply

During my working life I sat through (and probably made) many dull presentations. Since retiring and starting to teach I’ve tried to clean up my act and gain inspiration from sites like TED Talks, Presentation Zen, and others. Thanks for sharing your codes — looking forward to reading David’s latest book. I have purchased all his others and am a fan of his (and Katie Floyd’s) podcast.

Chris - August 7, 2014 Reply

I watched a TED talk about how a human child leans to talk. It was the first time I had known about the TED talks and I’ve been hooked since. Great presentation

Brooks Duncan
Brooks Duncan - August 6, 2014 Reply

Thanks everyone! That’s it for the codes, but feel free to keep sharing your favorite presentations.

Mark Alvarez - August 6, 2014 Reply

Local librarian talk on gardens. Wow. Powerpoint, though, not Keynote.

Carol - August 6, 2014 Reply

A student presentation that broke all the rules beautifully.

Robert - August 6, 2014 Reply

I know it is over-discussed, but Steve Job’s presentation for the first iPhone launch was brilliant. The use of large graphics, single bullet slides, and talking to (but not reading) the slides is a style I try to emulate outside of work. Unfortunately, the work standard is more like Death by PowerPoint.

steve french - August 6, 2014 Reply

Cool referral thanks.

Check out Nancy Duarte and Garr Reynolds, Presentation Zen for more great tips.

Thanks for the continued great content!

Jayne Mansfield - August 6, 2014 Reply

I found the keynote at Res Fest sponsored by Home Away very entertaining, it involved skits and made the mundane topic of reservations very interesting.

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