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Better Presentations


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Introduction Part I. Designing Your Presentation 1. Theory, Planning, and Design 2. Color 3. Type Part II. Building Your Presentation 4. The Text Slide 5. The Data Visualization Slide 6. The Image Slide 7. The Scaffolding Slides Part III. Giving Your Presentation 8. Presenting 9. The Technical Nitty Gritty Conclusions Further Readings References

Promotional Information

Designed for presenters of scholarly or data-intensive content, Better Presentations details essential strategies for developing clear, sophisticated, and visually captivating presentations. With a range of clear examples for what to do (and what not to do), the practical package offered in Better Presentations shares the best techniques to display work and the best tactics for winning over audiences. It pushes presenters past the frustration and intimidation of the process to more effective, memorable, and persuasive presentations.

About the Author

Jonathan Schwabish is a senior research associate at the Urban Institute's Income and Benefits Policy Center. He is also a member of the Institute's communication team, specializing in data visualization and presentation design. He has published widely in economics journals, including the National Tax Journal, the Journal of Human Resources, and the Journal of Economic Perspectives. He is the coauthor, with Robert Haveman and Andrew Bershadker, of Human Capital in the United States from 1975 to 2000: Patterns of Growth and Utilization (2006). He can be found on Twitter at @jschwabish.


Many smart people often become selfish idiots when they give a presentation. Jon's much-needed book is a must read for just about anyone asked to share some slides. -- Seth Godin, author of Really Bad Powerpoint Do us all a favor: read this book before your next presentation. From font size to data visualization, Schwabish guides you through creating a presentation that will both hold your audience's attention and effectively deliver information. -- Susan Dynarski, University of Michigan Modern scholars spend many hours a week watching or giving presentations; every one of us should be forced to practice the wisdom of Jonathan Schwabish's wonderful short book. I thought I had mastered this craft and imposed my mastery on others, but I learned so much from Better Presentations that from now on, I'll just say "Read the book!" -- Robert E. Hall, Stanford University Your work can shape the future only when others understand you. You can show how your ideas matter if you master the fundamentals of communication, and this book shows how to do just that. -- Carmen Simon, author of Impossible to Ignore If you are a scientist or scholar who doesn't care about designing beautiful slides for your presentations, you are doing it wrong. Elegance, clarity, and good visual composition make your messages understandable. In this concise book, Jonathan Schwabish outlines simple but essential rules of design and data visualization that anybody can benefit from. Apply them, and I guarantee that you will never again see a bored face in your audience. -- Alberto Cairo, University of Miami, author of The Truthful Art: Data, Charts, and Maps for Communication Data visualization has provided a new set of powerful tools to help analysts communicate their ideas more clearly and effectively. Jon Schwabish helped to pioneer the use of these tools in the policy community, and Better Presentations is full of valuable insights that teach his approach to others. Both new and experienced analysts would benefit immensely from reading this book. -- Douglas Elmendorf, former director of the Congressional Budget Office

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