Since my copy of the book is in English language, I do provide the review in both German and English language.
Presenting naked?Now, what is that gonna be? Garr Reynolds, the author, unleashes the puzzle quickly. Presenting naked means approaching your audience without weapons, so without heavyweight slide battles, and without hiding behind a lectern, but to conduct a conversation with them. Dialogue instead of monologue. A dialogue perception at least, in case a real one is not possible.
Garr Reynolds lives and works in Japan and seems addicted to japanese philosophy. One can read that. I like his calm and unpretentious style of delivering his message. Clearly there writes someone being home in multiple cultures. The idea of the title is some years old already.
Garr Reynolds writes a pleasant English that I as non native speaker can read easily.
So what is the core of a naked presentation?
No tricks. No gambling. No recited speech.
Instead connect with the audience. Conversation rather than performance. Impact rather than information. For the audience rather than for oneself. If using material at all, then visual rather than text based. Storytelling rather than fact counting. Art rather than assembly line.
Conscious reduction, self-imposed simplicity, in order to fascinate the audience about the topic instead of complicated structure and means.
That is “The Naked Presenter”.
This beautiful book I like taking in my hands
In “The Naked Presenter” the style of presentation matches its contents. I rate this book as beautiful, despite the fact being paperback. It has got a clear structure with few levels of chapters and sections. Colored headlines take this sober structure and yet make the book a bit extraordinary. A wonderful type area with broad margins and a resulting comfortable line length allow the eye to rest while reading. I did not measure, but for me it looks like a nine-part layout flipped upside down.
Useful illustrations and photos emphasize core messages and make it easier for them to reach memory. The photograph of two jazz musicians for example symbolizes the art of a carring away performance.
Visually separated insertions of other experts on the theme of presentation like the one of Pam Slim or Sir Ken Robinson pick upon particular topics from another viewpoint, nicely complementing the main text. Photos of the experts make the insertions more personal.
Whatever your take on stock photos is, the nice symbol photos about japanese ritual bathing add color as well as calmness to the book. They help keeping the storyline of the title over the whole book. And thanks to that, the book does not appear to be teaching but relaxing, exactly because not the usual person-with-suit-in-front-of-group photos dominate (other than in Toastmasters books). Reynolds or respectively his designer do not overuse the symbol photos. For each chapter there is a lead quote, visually separated in big, white font on colored background, e.g. from John Cleese, Bruce Lee, Mahatma Gandhi, Philippe Starck, Aristotele. So they resisted the temptation to add a photo behind each of the quotes. Without, it is just great.
One of the best books on presentation I ever read
In my career I had the opportunity to work with multiple trainings, training material, books and websites on the topic of speech and presentation. “The Naked Presenter” is clearly the best so far that I got in my hands, especially because it does not impose technocratic methods, but tries to transport something about the feeling and the mood for presentation.
Read this book. (Amazon link “The Naked Presenter: Delivering Powerful Presentations With or Without Slides“)