The latest in our series of book reviews on the general theme of communication in business, we take a deep dive into the Giving Presentations book, written by Jo Billingham.
By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak
Giving Presentations book: The basic details
- Author: Jo Billingham, who writes business-to-business communications for individuals and groups to help to improve their presentation skills.
- Publisher: Oxford University Press
- First Published: 2003
- Other Details: The book is part of the “One Step Ahead” series by the publisher
- Where to Buy: From Amazon here
Who is this book suitable for?
This book is fine for beginners. It covers all the basics in preparing and delivering presentations. However, it does not go into any great degree of depth that might be required for more advanced presenters.
What is the book’s structure?
The book’s structure makes it easy to read.
It’s laid out in bullet points, with brief pointers and reminders throughout.
It is not text heavy, so it could be used as a reference book to pick up and put down.
The language is simple and it has an easy flow. There are useful quotes littered throughout the book, some amusing, and some thought provoking.
Three Things I Found Useful from the Giving Presentations Books
1. Team presentations
This chapter on delivering presentations as a team is useful for sure. The bullet point format or brief pointers work well.
When we present we tend to focus on ourselves and our message, and tend to forget about the other people in the room. This can be even more pointed when we present as part of a team, when there is always a need for strategy.
This chapter provides concise information and rules that a team of presenters often forget.
2. Presenters tool kit checklists (pages 122- 133)
This section is very useful to any presenter, beginner or experienced.
Why? It’s a fast reminder, a tick list reminding us of the basics that we often forget when we are busy preparing or worrying.
More importantly this checklist is very useful for those experienced presenters who might have become blasé about presenting.
I use these checklists on my advanced courses regularly.
3. Question time
The book has a useful chapter (though a little brief) on handling questions, how to handle difficult audience members and how to prepare for question time.
Things I Didn’t Find Useful
The book lacks depth in all chapters. Unfortunately, it seems to skim the surface throughout.
Whilst it’s useful no doubt, it doesn’t add much for the more experienced presenters.
If you are looking for something different in a presentation skills book this read doesn’t really offer it.
All in all it’s pretty “bog standard”, with nothing really new to offer.
Overall I felt it lacked creativity. It’s a little old fashioned in certain chapters. For example what it has to say about wardrobe and on visual aids are already a little dated. Also, it didn’t include a chapter on language which could be useful for the reader.
Summary of Giving Presentations book
For beginners, it’s worth a read. For more experienced presenters, however, don’t bother as there are better options out there.
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ConfidentSpeak is a specialist S.T.E.M Communications & Coaching Consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives at home and abroad. Contact us for details on our range of corporate/private programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals.