Beyond Bullet Points

Many of us make presentations or attend presentations as part of our work.  How many of us can claim to have made a presentation which wowed the audience?   Or for that matter, come away from a presentation with the feeling that your day was made?  I would argue, very few.  Which is the reason why, a book like Beyond Bullet Points 3rd Edition by Cliff Atkinson (Microsoft Press; 352 pages)  is a necessary read.

The fact that the book is in its 3rd edition, by itself indicates the popularity of the book and the author.  To top it up, when the back cover mentions how a lawyer who used the book won a verdict of USD 253 million, it does make one take notice.

The author uses Microsoft Powerpoint as the tool to explain how to create not good, but great presentations.  Now presentations are not as much to do with the tool, as with having a systematic approach towards the topic.  The author explains how to plan the presentation and then put it into the tool.  He believes the first five slides are the key to the success of the presentation.  He also explains the need for storyboard and narration, and how pictures are worth the thousand words.

The book is quite detailed and is not a leisure read.  It is best used as reference to hone up ones presentation skills.  It could be also be used in trainings on giving effective presentations.  The author's experience shows up in his writing and makes it go beyond theory.  Not all of us can be Steve Jobs.  We can at least attempt to make our presentations go beyond bullet points.

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