How to Make an Impact (Jon Moon) book review

How to Make an Impact by Jon Moon may be one of the most useful lesser known business books around. For anyone who creates business documents – including PowerPoint decks – this book is a handy reference guide to make business documents that are clearer and have more impact.

Jon covers a handful of handy tips. Many of them are covered by other authors, some of them are original. All of them are useful. I point out some of the more helpful tips here:

Words in Tables. An alternative to bullet points is to present text in tables, with the headline in the left column for easy skimming and the paragraphs in the right column. This method is similar to information blocks, developed by Robert E. Horn, and Jon uses the technique extensively throughout the book

Charts. Jon covers smart ways to present data through bar charts, pie charts, sparklines and infographics. Many of these ideas have been covered by authors like Gene Zelazny, Stephen Few and Edward Tufte. The idea of logo charts appears to be originated by Jon.

Document design. Jon borrows graphic design principles from  The Non-Designer’s Design Book by Robin Williams and applies them to business documents (Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, Proximity).

Org charts. Jon shows an inventive way to present org charts that compact a lot of information in a little space, which is superior to using boxes, lines and arrows to show reporting hierarchy.

How to Make an Impact also covers how to present data in tables, how to present numbers and how to put it all together in dashboards for executives to review and manage their business. Jon also includes a chapter on slide design, which is again a nice recap of the popular thinking on how to make slides simpler using fewer bullets.  

I also like how the book covers are cleverly designed so they can fold in and act as a bookmark. How to Make an Impact reflects some smart thinking by the author, whether the ideas are his own or the best ideas distilled from others. It’s the perfect reference book for any business communicator and many of the ideas also apply to PowerPoint slides. I highly recommend it.

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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