Advanced Presentations by Design (Andrew Abela) book review

Most successful PowerPoint books talk about PowerPoint as visual support for a speaker in a large audience presentation. But there are few books that discuss it from the perspective of working business documents. Advanced Presentations by Design is one of the first that addresses this important scenario.

First, the book talks about slide design, not with rule-of-thumb advice from a self-proclaimed graphics guru, but from a research-based perspective.

Second, the book is not just a collection of ideas, but a step-by-step method for creating a deck starting from analyzing your audience through to choosing a layout that passes the squint test.

The SCoRE method also appears interesting, but appropriate for only certain kinds of decks. The method is clever, and based on insights found in Henry Boettinger’s marvelous Moving Mountains. But I feel this approach is most appropriate for external audiences and that internal audiences would be resistant to such an obvious persuasive approach. Still, for blogs or external presentations the method looks promising.

There are some areas I would have liked to have seen covered more. For instance, should I use bullets or not? If so, then how? Should I use color on my slide? How much? Which colors? There are several practical questions any business person would have that are not addressed in the book. As someone who creates boardroom-style PowerPoint slides on a daily basis, this book still leaves many unanswered questions.

Overall, Advanced Presentations by Design is an important step forward in thinking about PowerPoint slide design. I’m sure it is only the first in what will be a wave of new books that address PowerPoint, not as a presentation software, but as a business document.

Other books I recommend are my own (Speaking PowerPoint: the new language of business), and Stephen Kosslyn’s Clear and to the Point. Both books approach slide design from a brain science perspective and assume the writer has limited graphic design abilities.

About the author: Bruce Gabrielle is author of Speaking PowerPoint: the new language of business, showing a 12-step method for creating clearer and more persuasive PowerPoint slides for boardroom presentations.  Subscribe to this blog or join my LinkedIn group to get new posts sent to your inbox.

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