I can assure you after reading Even a Geek Can Speak: Low-Tech Presentation Skills for High-Tech People that this is a book you should read before ending your degree, or at least, before your first oral presentation. This is the book that will teach you everything you wanted to know about talks and presentations.
- It covers the main topics of a presentation: preparation, technique and tips.
- Gives you clear advice about subjects you did not think about: your voice, your gestures, your posture.
- Tells you how to turn a presentation into something almost everyone can understand.
It covers the main topics of a presentation
After the quick recap you get into the nitty-gritty details. Crafting a message, removing jargon, using stories and jokes and so on. Everything you wanted to know about the craft of your presentation (i.e. before the day) is thoroughly covered.
Gives you clear advice about the finer details
God is in the details(Ludwig Mies van der Rohe)
These fine-grained details are one of the most interesting parts of the book. Mostly because they are the stuff I tend to not think about, ever. I may craft a decent presentation... and flunk it exactly because I am not aware of my voice, speed and nerves.
Some tips? Record your voice and read parts of your presentation in loud voice and whispering voice. Chances are, they are very similar. Record you talking with a huge, phony smile. Chances are it will look almost natural and cheerful. Rehearse a lot. Practice the first lines more than anything else.
Tells you how to turn a presentation into something almost everyone can understand
Remove any jargon people might not understand: plain language is understood by everyone, but jargon can be specific. And don't try to be so obscure no-one asks anything afraid of your answer! By the way, now we talk about questions: prepare a brainstorming session beforehand, looking for all the questions you may be asked. Rehearse them, and you will have nothing to fear from the end of talk questions session.
Even a Geek Can Speak has even chapter covering creating elevator pitches, pitching to venture capitalists and sailing over the room in networking events. May look like very minor points, but from a shy geek point of view, they are awesome in pinpointing flaws.
I absolutely recommend this book to anyone who needs to convince someone else about some subject. You don't even need to be a geek! By the way, I read the Kindle edition of the book. Although I would have loved a paperback, I found it too expensive... and I had gift certificates from Amazon, making it an awesome buy.