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Prentice Hall
Guide to Presentations / Edition 3

Guide to Presentations / Edition 3

by Mary M. Munter, Lynn Russell
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A brief, professional, reader-friendly guide to creating effective presentations.

Many people avoid giving presentations or simply suffer through them. Guide to Presentations, with its clear, concise, and practical information, helps readers understand how to prepare and practice in order to make presentations far less troubling.

The third edition features an entire chapter on PowerPoint® presentations.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780137075089
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Publication date: 07/30/2010
Series: Alternative eText Formats Series
Pages: 168
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.40(d)

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Analyze the Audience
Chapter 2. Identify Your Intent
Chapter 3. Make the Most of the Message
Chapter 4. Structure the Content
Chapter 5. Design the Visuals
Chapter 6. Refine Your Nonverbal Delivery



If you have a specific question about presentations, turn to the relevant part of this book for guidance. For example:

  • You're anxious about an upcoming presentation. How can you calm yourself down?
  • You think you did a decent job on your presentation, but you're not sure if it will get the desired results. How can you come up with a presentation objective that focuses your efforts and enables you to measure your results?
  • Your boss seemed to totally miss the point of your last presentation. How can you aim your message so that it reaches your boss? How can you make sure your key points don't get lost?
  • You're giving a sales presentation. How can you be certain the audience will understand the benefits of your recommendation? What strategies can you use to get them to say "yes"?
  • You're presenting to an unknown audience. What sort of first impression will you make? How can you enhance your credibility?
  • Audience members appear to be confused, frustrated, or sleepy as they look to your computer-generated slide show. How can you design slides that broadcast your message, highlight key data, and hold the interest of the group?
  • Someone in the audience seems to be attacking you. How can you handle a hostile audience member or hostile questions?
  • You do a fine job discussing your ideas when you are sitting down at a meeting, but as soon as you have to stand up in front of a group, you feel awkward. What should you do with your hands and feet in formal situations and in less formal ones?

If you don't have a specific question, but need general guidelines,procedures, and techniques, read through this entire book. For example:

  • You want a framework for thinking strategically about presentations.
  • You want to know more about the step-by-step process of creating a presentation, from collecting information and asking questions to rehearsing and delivering your talk.
  • You want a procedure to use the next time you have to create slides or other visual aids.

If you are taking a professional course, a college course, a workshop, or a seminar, use this book as a reference. You may be a skilled presenter already, but we hope you will find information in this book that will help you polish your skills.


This book was written for you if you need to make presentations in a business, government, or academic setting—that is, if you need to present yourself and your ideas to achieve results. You may already know these facts:

  • Public speaking is the # 1 fear in the United States. Many people avoid giving presentations or simply suffer through them. Understanding how to prepare and practice can make presentations far less troubling.
  • Your success is based on communication. Studies have linked career advancement with the ability to communicate. Your presentation skills are particularly noticeable—by your boss, your co-workers, your clients, and others.
  • Presenting today is more challenging than in the past. Recent trends such as increased globalization and new presentation technologies make designing and delivering presentations more challenging than ever.


The thousands of participants in various professional presentation courses and workshops we have taught—between the two of us, at Columbia, Dartmouth's Tuck, NYU's Stern, and Stanford business schools, as well as at hundreds of companies and organizations—tell us they want a brief summary of presentation techniques. Such busy professionals have found other books on this subject too long or too remedial for their needs. That's why Prentice Hall is publishing this series, the Prentice Hall Guides to Advanced Communication-brief, practical, reader-friendly guides for people who communicate in professional contexts. (See the opening page in this book for more information on the series.)

  • Brief: The book summarizes key ideas only. Culling from thousands of pages of text and research, we have omitted bulky examples, cases, footnotes, exercises, and discussion questions.
  • Practical: This book offers clear, straightforward tools you can use. It includes only information you will find useful in a professional context.
  • Reader friendly: We have tried to provide an easy-to-skim format—using a direct, matter-of-fact, and nontheoretical tone.


The book is divided into two main sections.

Part I: Presentation Strategy (Chapters 1-3)

Effective presentations are based on effective presentation strategy. Effective presentation strategy, in turn, is based on the three strategic variables covered in this first part, which we refer to as the "AIM" strategy for Audience, Intent, and Message.

  • Chapter 1: Analyzing Your Audience. This chapter covers how to answer the questions: (1) Who are they? (2) What do they know and expect? and (3) What do they feel?
  • Chapter 2: Identifying Your Intent. In this chapter, you will learn to set your presentation objective, select the appropriate level of audience interaction, and choose the appropriate medium (e.g., presentation, meeting, videoconference, etc.)
  • Chapter 3: Making Your Message Memorable. To craft a memorable message, refer to the emphasis and persuasion techniques explained in this chapter.

Part II: Presentation Implementation (Chapters 4-6)

Based on your strategy, you can implement an effective presentation, using the three sets of skills described in Part II, which we refer to as the "SVN" implementation framework: Structure, Visuals, and Nonverbal delivery.

  • Chapter 4: Structuring Your Presentation. This chapter covers what you say during the presentation-organizational techniques to research ideas for your message and verbal techniques to structure your message.
  • Chapter 5: Designing Your Visual Aids. In this chapter, we take you through the process of creating visual aids by (1) selecting the right equipment, (2) composing message titles, (3) choosing your chart design, (4) ensuring consistency (including templates), and (5) striving for simplicity and readability (including use of color).
  • Chapter 6: Refining Your Nonverbal Delivery. The final aspect of presentation implementation consists of your nonverbal delivery skills—how you look and sound to your audience. This chapter covers techniques for (1) analyzing the various aspects of your nonverbal delivery, (2) enhancing your delivery, including practice techniques, and (3) relaxing and managing your nervous symptoms.


Thanks to the many people who helped us with this book. MM: I am grateful to the thousands of the executives and students I've been privileged to teach; to my colleagues at MCA and ABC; and, most of all, to Paul Argenti. LR: Thanks to my husband, colleague, and the best teacher I know, Professor Irv Schenkler of the Stern School of Business at NYU. Thanks also to my extraordinary business partner, teaching partner, and friend, Joann Baney; to the many colleagues who have assisted me at Columbia University, including Tom Ference, Breanna Kirk, Lisa Kohn, Gerry Lewis, Gwenn Pasco, Ora Shtull, and Martha Stodt; to the MBAs, PhDs, and executives who have taken my courses and workshops; and to my colleagues from other institutions-starting with Mary Munter and including, Paul Argenti, Nancy Keeshan, Chris Kelly, Georgia Kingsley, Bob Reinheimer, Jane Seskin, and Gene Zelazny. You have been great teachers. I have learned much about communication from all of you.

Finally, we would like to acknowledge our sources listed in the bibliography.

Mary Munter
Tuck School of Business
Dartmouth College

Lynn Russell
Professional Development Company

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