If your job involves presenting your ideas to others with impact – which includes training, facilitating workshops and public speaking – you must engage and persuade your audience. The new Presentation Genius card deck can help you make your next session more effective than ever before.
This innovative tool, produced by Michael Bungay Stanier and Mark Bowden, contains 108 tools, tips and techniques about how to run better meetings, more useful presentations and workshops and training sessions that will help them deliver greater impact and value to your audience.
Each Presentation Genius card presents an idea or teaches you a tactic that you can use immediately. Their content is based the authors’ deep experience in running meetings, workshops and presentations for more than 100,000 people in organizations around the world. They have distilled the best of what they have learned into a powerful, portable resource that you can keep in your work area and pull out whenever you need to plan a dynamic meeting, workshop or presentation.
Bungay Stanier is the senior partner of Box of Crayons, a company that helps executives do great work. He is the author of several books, including Get Unstuck & Get Going…on the stuff that matters. Bowden is the founder of TRUTHPLANE, a communications training company that teaches executives how to present with confidence and impact. He’s the author of the book, Winning Body Language: Control the Conversation, Command Attention, and Convey the Right Message without Saying a Word.
In addition to the card deck, Stanier and Bowden offer the Presentation Genius e-course, which goes far beyond the run-of-the-mill presentation skills training. It brings together unique modules on self-management, room set up, the neuroscience of how we engage others, influencing others through body language, masterful facilitation tips and much more.
In a sense, the Presentation Genius card deck is an inexpensive introduction to the thinking these two presentation experts have assembled for their 23-episode video training course.
The Presentation Genius card deck comes in an attractive and durable cardstock box so you can take them anywhere. In addition to the 108 inspiring cards, it comes with instructions that include tips on how to use them and an extensive list of recommended books and other resources where you can continue your learning.
Wide-ranging card topics
The Presentation Genius card deck is divided into five key topics, which go well beyond the usual presentation and slide design tips. Here are some examples of the content contained in this innovative thinking and planning tool:
Planning & Design: These cards explain how to prepare and structure a session for most impact. Sample cards include:
- Who really matters? (Who in this audience do you most need to influence? Focus on them.)
- The beginning/the ending (Start and end your presentation with a bang to increase the memorability of your presentation)
- Data is worthless (Focus on making meaning for your audience. Don’t focus totally on your slides and the data they contain. Let more of you and your unique personality shine through.)
Visuals: These cards present tips and best practices that will help you do away with the “death by Powerpoint” approach and make your slides count.
- 5-word headlines work best (or less)
- No token images (Make images big and strong. Don’t use them unless they add meaning to your presentation.)
- Simplify (as much as possible)
Space: Use the physical environment to help and not hinder your presentations or meetings.
- Interior design (Don’t be afraid to change up the arrangement of tables and chairs in the meeting room. This sends a strong signal to attendees that this will be something more than Just Another Meeting.)
- Project white on black (It enables you to walk in front of the projector without casting a shadow. It’s also easier to read than black on white.)
- How big do you want it? (Give a lot of thought to the ideal room size. Not too big, not too small.)
Facilitation: This section of the Presentation Genius card deck shares tried and true ways to be a better facilitator to engage and manage a group.
- Any questions? (Rather than the usual end of presentation solicitation for questions, why not have the audience break into small groups and spend 5 minutes discussing what they would like to know more about. Then have one person from each group share their key points.)
- Capture ideas (Provide a place for people to capture their key learnings. Remind the audience to write down what they want to remember.
- It’s like a… (Use an image, story or metaphor to help your audience see the point you’re making)
Self-management: These cards contain tips on how to manage your own uncertainty and do a better job at cultivating a stronger presence in front of a group.
- BANG! (Make your entrance and opening confident, strong, bold, clear and engaged)
- If they’re laughing… (they’re listening)
- Mirror, mirror… (The audience will copy the signal you put out. Keep yours positive, clear and consistent and that’s what you’ll get back)
How can you use the Presentation Genius card deck?
Presentation Genius can be used in a variety of ways. Some people pick three or four key cards that really resonate with them and use the insights to redesign their presentations and sessions. Others pick a single card to focus on to run a better meeting. And still others pick a card at random to inspire their thinking.
The art of successful persuasive speaking isn’t something you’re either born with or you aren’t. It’s a set of skills that you can cultivate and improve upon. I’ve done a fair amount of presenting to groups over the years. Despite that, I learned a lot by paging through the cards and selecting several of each type at random. The quality of the ideas contained in the Presentation Genius card deck is first-rate. I highly recommend this innovative thinking and planning tool.
The Presentation Genius card deck is available from Amazon.com for US$97. You can also learn more about it here. If your work depends on you successfully and persuasively communicating your ideas to others, consider it an investment in your future success that will pay for itself many times over. I know I’ll be referring to it he next time I need to prepare for a presentation!