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Building Better Business Book Club 

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The Busy Person’s Guide to Great Presenting by Lee Warren

You can’t get away from it – this is a book about communication that communicates its message better than any other that I have read. Lee Warren’s wonderful style enables us to see how a great presenter presents greatly. In many ways, the book is more like a conversation than a text, yet gold dust within its paragraphs is sprinkled liberally throughout.

There are many complex topics which Lee simplifies through the use of models and examples. I suspect that you will love the ham pie, and I’ll not spoil its importance until you, too, have read about it.

The key important elements of the book that I will remember are that, as a presenter, the most important people are the ones that I am presenting to – the audience. I need to consider their needs, their levels of understanding, and design my presentation so that they will be motivated to take the actions that will make a difference for them. As a result of reading “The Busy Person’s Guide to Great Presenting”, I also know the sorts of things that I can include as ways to enhance the message.  

I also learned the importance of preparation, practice and rehearsal. I noted the difference between “practice” and “rehearsal”, and have committed since reading the book to doing both to the best of my ability. As Lee says, “you do feel awkward when you rehearse, but that’s the point of rehearsal, to get over that feeling before it matters”. How true!

Practice may mean taking a small part of a presentation and honing the way that I express it, in my own time and in the comfort of my own home. Rehearsal means running from end to end with an audience, perhaps a friendly audience, or a mentor, but an audience nonetheless. The stress is different, and the different stress changes the shape of what you do. That’s the point Lee makes; it makes you better. I’m sure that Lee’s one minute warmup will also have some significant impacts for most of us. So, if you now catch me standing with my arms in a V above my head making “Hmmm” sounds, you’ll know who to blame.

There are three important messages that I think will also stick with me:

  1. Nobody is interested in you.
  2. Great presentations are designed.
  3. The busy persons guide to great slides is to do without.

Overall, this is a fast read. Lee’s conversational style makes it easy to read quickly, and for the messages and value that is shared to be easily retained and remembered. Of course, that’s the beauty of a great presenter writing a book on great presenting. Lee’s experience over many years is clear from the text, his ability to simplify, clarify, and organise stands out and, having seen Lee speak on a number of occasions, I can vouch for how well he puts his own knowledge to work.

This is a book I have no hesitation in recommending for anyone who ever has to stand in front of others and present with the intention of sharing knowledge or motivating action.

You can buy a copy of “The Busy Person’s Guide to Great Presenting” from the Building Better Business Book club here.