Cary Communication’s Favorite PowerPoint Presentation Books

Cary Communication’s Favorite PowerPoint Presentation Books

Looking for inspiration for new slides? Want to know how to do some cool special effects like removing the background from an image?

There are some truly great books to help you deliver better slides and tell a better story to your audience.

Here are some of my favorites:

slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations

The first on the list is Nancy Duarte’s classic, slideology which could be called “How to Win PowerPoint Friends and Influence People.” It makes me happy just to see the beauty of each page. You can learn quite a bit just by looking at the images in the book, even if you never read the text.

Start with Why

OK, so this isn’t a PowerPoint book, per se, but Start with Why is a key book to read when you’re planning any presentation, regardless of which medium you use to deliver the message. You can provide all the facts you want, but it’s not going to sway your audience. You must create an emotional response in your audience’s limbic system (the primitive brain) in order to reach their rational brain (the neocortex, which evolved later). It’s a fascinating concept that applies to many aspects of influencing others.

Why Most PowerPoint Presentations Suck…and how you can make them better 

I first read Rick Altman’s advise through a SlideShare presentation, and came across some great gems that explain basic rules that most people don’t know that they need to follow to create beautiful, logical presentations. Why Most PowerPoint Presentations Suck is a book that’s perfect for people who know their presentations are hideous, even if they know the subject matter.

Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences

Nancy Duarte introduced a follow-on book, Resonate, that focuses on storytelling rather than the mechanics of slide layout. It’s a good next-level approach if you already have some core presentation skills but want to improve the way you craft your message.

Presentation Zen

An oldie, but a goodie, from Garr Reynolds. Presentation Zen is another book that can be used to generate ideas. It’s a comprehensive guide to keeping it simple (an oyxmoron?). You don’t need to worry about which version of PowerPoint you’re using. The concepts have remained remarkably similar over many years.

Illuminate: Ignite Change Through Speeches, Stories, Ceremonies, and Symbols

When you’ve mastered the concept of good storytelling, a natural next step is to learn more about the different types of storytelling and different methods to lead people at different phases of a venture through meaningful change. Think of Illuminate as a leadership guru’s master class.

I didn’t include any beginner guides because it’s all based on how each beginner prefers to learn. Some people are more visual; others need hands-on training. I recommend an introductory class where you can ask questions.

If you prefer one-on-one training, or need a custom class to suit your needs, contact us. We are also able to help you with any and all phases of creating a presentation, from content development to slide polishing. Consultations are free.

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