How many times did you attend a meeting with a speaker reading a 12 bullets slides with unreadable text in Arial 12pt (or even worse, Comic Sans). Even if the subject was interesting, it is more likely that the monotone speech of the speaker and the overload of text (and likely of colors) led you to watch the clouds in the sky or even to fall asleep while keeping your eyes semi-open. Clearly, such communication did not reached his goal: change behaviour! Yes, we usually don’t communicate just for the sake of it, we communicate because we hope we can influence people and make them change their mind and they way of acting. If you don’t, stop wasting your colleagues’ precious time!
Doing a presentation is an art. Being a good speaker is a talent. As all talent, it requires practice and training. Before reaching Steve Jobs or Sir Ken Robinson’s level, you can already start improving your visual support, the holly PowerPoint presentation that most of you prepare as soon they have to present something. Of course it might bring clarity, structure and visual support for boring and complex numbers. Unfortunately, in wrong hands, it can also make your presentation even more boring.
Nancy Duarte’s is famous for her work on corporate presentation. Her excellent book « Slideology » might be a good start to understand the basic principles ofa good PowerPoint presentation. If you need to be convinced, I suggest you pay a visit to her web site and check her online portfolio on http://www.duarte.com/work/.
You may also profit from the reading of Garr Reynolds books: « Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery » and « Presentation Zen Design: Simple Design Principles and Techniques to Enhance Your Presentations« .
Changing your presentation, you will also notice you will change the way you present it. Good presentation requires a logical flowing structure that will also improve the intelligibility of your oral presentation.
Of course, these books are only helpful if you care about being listened. Assertivity is just one key of success, you can maybe achieve your goals without it.