Show and Tell by Dan Roam

In a wonderful coincidence, at the same time I was complaining about some of the bad PowerPoint presentation that came my way and the seemingly entrenched insistence on boring bullet point outlines I stumbled upon Show and Tell: How Everybody Can Make Extraordinary Presentations
by Dan Roam:

book_showtellFor the vast majority of us, giving a presentation is an extremely difficult and nerve-wracking process, whether we’re in a one-on-one meeting, a conference room with a dozen strangers, or a lecture hall in front of thousands.

But according to Dan Roam, the visual communications expert and acclaimed author of The Back of the Napkin, it doesn’t have to be so hard. We struggle when we forget the basic steps we learned in kindergarten: show and tell.

In this short but powerful book, Roam introduces a new set of tools for making extraordinary presentations in any setting. He also draws on ideas he’s been honing for more than two decades, as an award-winning presenter who has brought his whiteboard everywhere from Fortune 500 companies to tiny startups to the White House.

And I am glad I did.  It is an insightful and wonderful exploration of presentations and storytelling. Anyone who makes presentations or gives reports, makes pitches, or otherwise seeks to communicate effectively in group settings should read this book.

According Roam, making an extraordinary presentation is simple:

  1. Tell the truth
  2. Tell it with a story
  3. Tell that story with pictures

Roam lays out in simple and concrete terms what is needed to make a high impact presentation. He leads you step by step through thinking about why certain presentations make an impact, the structures of the different kind of presentations, the ingredients of effective communication, the importance of images, and how to build your own presentation. Everything you need to know to get started.

What is even better is that Roam uses the same Show and Tell format and style in the book. Which makes it a quick and engaging read and gives you no excuse not to read it. Highly recommend it.

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).

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