A few months ago, I wrote a post on why PowerPoint is not to blame for bad presentations. In that post, I also promised to publish snippets from the book I’m writing on presentation skills with Columbia University Press. Turns out that I didn’t actually post many snippets from the book (exceptions are here and here) because, well, I was too busy writing the book.

But today, the final draft of the book goes to the publisher for copyediting. I’m by no means done with it—there will be more editing, artwork to complete, factchecking to confirm, and the companion website to build—but I’m relieved at this point to get the entire manuscript off my desk. It’s been a rough few weeks hammering out the final edits; it’s a huge, huge weight to get off my shoulders and I’m looking forward to some rest.

So, this post is really to give you a quick peak at the structure of the book. But not the title; I’m still working on it. I’ve got 9 chapters (titles still subject to change):

  1. Theory, Planning, and Design
  2. Design Decisions: Color
  3. Design Decisions: Type
  4. Building Your Presentation: The Text Slide
  5. Building Your Presentation: Data Visualization Slide
  6. Building Your Presentation: Image Slide
  7. Building Your Presentation: The Scaffolding Slide
  8. Presenting
  9. The Technical Nitty Gritty

I ended up stripping a ton of PowerPoint-specific lessons and tips out from the first couple of drafts and instead focused more on the general process of presentation building. I think I was also successful focusing more on my core audience—data analysts, researchers, graduate students, or university professors—all people working with and presenting data and research. I’ve tried to make it easy to utilize good design while helping this group focus on the thing that’s important: Effectively communicating their analysis and their data to an audience.

I’ve written the book basically anywhere I could: in cars, on trains, on planes, waiting for presentations to start, at friend’s offices, waiting for the car to get fixed, coffee shops, home office……(yes, I blurred some of these images; you don’t need to see the terrible first drafts). I spent a ton of time at my local Greenberry’s Coffee shop drinking my fill of chai tea lattes. I’ve filled notebooks with notes and thoughts, sketches, and ideas. I’ve gone through hundreds of sticky tabs and Post-It Notes. And my home office is stacked with presentation, design, and typography books.

The book should be out in August, but at this point the major task is done. Now it’s time to sleep for a couple of days.

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