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HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  888 ratings  ·  81 reviews

Terrified of speaking in front of a group? Or simply looking to polish your skills? No matter where you are on the spectrum, this guide will give you the confidence and the tools you need to get results.

Written by presentation expert Nancy Duarte, the HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations will help you:

• Win over tough crowds
• Organiz
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 2nd 2012 by Harvard Business Review Press (first published April 20th 2010)
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Average rating 3.97  · 
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Nov 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This handy reference guide looks and feels like one of those field guides you might put in a backpack and take into the wilds. In this case, it’s the wilds of public speaking, and this is a useful book to have. It’s arranged in over 50 very short chapters on specific issues presenters might face, such as segmenting the audience, defining your idea, losing the jargon, creating a solid structure, adding emotional texture, making the most of slide software, choosing the right type of slide, avoidin ...more
I am fan of Nancy Duarte, since I watched film "Inconvenient Truth".
When I picked up a book, I was looking at Slide design and flow of presentation. Book touches both topics, in fact there is a section on slide design. However, it is not treating subject in depth.

I guess she touched on this in "Slide:ology".

This book is prescriptive in nature. It has few sections, each section has a small topic. And then the topic covers do's and don't. More suitable as a support for a training workshop on pr
Apr 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book on how to create better presentations. I especially liked the recommendations on how to create effective power point presentations. This book helped me create a presentation that I gave during a job interview... and yes, I did get the job!!
Aug 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great overview for improving your presentation creation and delivery. Powerful advice and insight. Not hard to read as the book is written like a presentation, easy to absorb quickly without losing your attention, which is one of the main points amongst many. Simple advice with powerful results.
Alexander Miguel Roscoe
Dec 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Really useful and practical guide to everything about presentations. I have a fear of presenting but I feel that if I follow most things in the book then it’s difficult to not give a good presentation
Muthurajesh Gunasingh
Mar 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
It is an excellent book on Presentations. The presentation should be in a storytelling mode as per the author. It should be able to connect with and engage the audience. Equal importance should be given to the content, slide layout, delivery and feedback.
Héctor Iván Patricio Moreno
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you have never read anything about how to make great presentations, read this. It is so complete and concise at the same time it worth completely reading it.
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
Quick and easy read. Some practical tips but I find skills like giving presentations are better gained through doing than reading.
Mar 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Much of what Duarte writes seems like common sense, though it is not so common. I have encountered way too much of the "look at me, I'm so smart" kind of presentations of late. It's about making your audience feel smart, as Duarte rightly points out, not about making yourself look smart. Nice to see my views own views on effective presentations reaffirmed -- and expanded upon. ...more
Fred Cheyunski
Jul 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
Presentation Practicum - Having seen Duarte’s books before, then references and quotes in Berinato’s "Good Charts: The HBR Guide to Making Smarter, More Persuasive Data Visualizations" (see my review), I finally got ahold of this book after reading her "Illuminate: Ignite Change Through Speeches, Stories, Ceremonies, and Symbols" as that was available to me first. Given my interest in the use of visualization as well as the current status of public speaking and rhetoric, I was particularly inter ...more
Apr 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was a fairly quick read on how to give better presentations. The most important things that I learned were how to develop a presentation step by step starting with an analysis of the audience, engaging the audience before the presentation, drawing out the story and how to use visuals to convey a message. The section of the book on giving virtual presentations was particularly timely as I'm looking for good advice on how to translate in-person trainings to the web. I had not thought abo ...more
Jeremy Morgan
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This turned out to be much better than I anticipated.

So I enjoy the previous work of the author so I expected it to be good, but thought it might be a little stale or textbook, but it wasn't.

Read this if you want to improve your presentations. Whether for business, pleasure or whatever this lays out a very nice formula, some good examples and an extremely structured view of how to approach presentations.

This doesn't focus on slides and visuals like her previous work (though that was excellent
Tri Le
May 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Quick and easy to digest read about how to improve presentations. The book provides a good high-level description of some key areas of focus. Nancy Duarte starts with how to understand and appreciate your audience. She follows that up with expanding on how to develop the message and the story behind the presentation. Afterwards, she discusses the medium of the presentation (not everything requires PowerPoint) and then goes further into the actual slides and methods of delivery. Lastly she touche ...more
Ashleigh Mattern
May 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations provides practical tips from an experienced presenter. Having done many presentations myself, I'd learned some of these tips the hard way, like the importance of practicing, testing your presentation out on other people, and the importance of making your slides look good. But some of the ideas were totally new to me, and I'm excited to try them out the next time I need to do a presentation. I've never thought to record my presentation and watch my perfor ...more
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business, non-fiction
This compact field guide encapsulates the best practices needed to master the full range of business presentation scenarios. The advice is pragmatic and clearly based on real-world experience. What I most appreciated was guidance on distinguishing between the slides used to document information vs. what should be used in an actual presentation. Duarte covers everything else too, including audience perspective, room logistics, technology and how to involve others. It reads quickly and is a worthy ...more
Fred Rose
Spare and informative, like a good presentation. I would view this book as more something to glance through when creating a presentation. It's all good information by a great presentation designer. Try one of her other books or many other good presentation books for a more in-depth view. But this is great review. ...more
Apr 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, comm_oral
After reading so many unuseful videos and books finally found this gem. A well-articulated book, which also provides a tip sheet about the structuring the thought process prior, during, and refining steps of the slide deck. There are 2-3 chapters on the social media or off-line presentations. I didn't find them much use though. A separate book on those topics would have been better.

Daron Yondem
Dec 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-learn
Pretty content heavy. Loved it. Make sure you go slow reading this one to be able to digest all the content. If you can read it during the timeline of a couple of presentations you have to do in real life, that would be perfect!
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Easy, fast, and well-structured read. Great ideas and reminders for building effective presentations. Some of the stuff is aimed at delivering a talk to a larger audience, though I still picked up ideas for regular internal meetings. Assigned reading for the MBA.
Paul Borres
Jun 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've always been fascinated by public speaking. They say the formula for effective speaking and persuasive presentation hasn't changed for over 2000 years, but this is your modern guide to persuasive presentation. Would recommend this guide to go along with Dale Carnegie's books. ...more
Aug 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a re-read for me, and I have read other books by Nancy and her team as well. It is all fantastic stuff and very much helps me navigate and overcome some of the stuffiness of work presentations.
Mike Posner
Nov 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Useful Book

Useful ideas to consider when designing a presentation. Easy read, worth checking out! I found it to help with everything from sales presentations to more general presentations.
Nilesh Solanki
Mar 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
The author has mentioned that the book helps people gain confidence, inspire other people, sell their ideas, and provide tools to engage the audience. The book has seven sections. Each section is discussed in detail by the author. Before beginning each section, the author has mentioned quotes by famous people. I liked it very much since it makes the content more relatable to real life. Additionally, the book has numerous real-life examples from the author’s life experience to support the section ...more
Patrick Sheehan
Nov 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I so wish I'd read this months ago.

A great guide and checklist that somehow manages to impart insight.

This might be Nancy Duarte's best book. It is indispensable.
Dionis Cenusa
Jul 16, 2017 rated it liked it
A useful source of practical information about how to build a successful presentation. Recommend it!
Eduardo Rosas
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Everyone who ever presents to an audience should have this book handy at all times.
Sebastiaan Jolie
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great book! superhelpful tips and illustrations!
anna b
Jul 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
Good resource book which I will refer to when considering what contents I want to present and how. I will check out Duarte's other books and those mentioned in there. ...more
Robert Rich
Jul 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: nf-work-lit
Had to read this one for work. It’s a nice, consolidated reference of best practices for presentations. Nothing groundbreaking but never hurts to have a guidebook on hand.
Aug 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Good summary of ideas, but didn't seem too inspirational. ...more
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Nancy Duarte is an American writer and CEO of Duarte, Inc., a communications firm in the Silicon Valley. She is a presentation specialist whose client list includes most Fortune 500 companies.

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