An Interview with Scott Schwertly, Author of How to Be a Presentation God

Scott Schwertly used to work at Thomas Nelson. However, a few years ago, he launched Ethos3, a presentation design company. He has become wildly successful, developing presentations for companies like Google, Pepsico, NBC, Oracle, A&E, and, yes, even Thomas Nelson. He has just written a new book called, How to Become a Presentation God.

If you have read my blog for any length of time, you know that I love presenting and work hard at it. But when I read a book like Scott’s, I realize how much I still have to learn! While there are numerous great books on speaking and presentations, this is the one I wish I had read first. It frames everything else.I recently had the opportunity to interview Scott via Skype. In this interview, I asked Scott eight questions:

  1. With all the other presentation books available, why did you feel the world needed one more?
  2. In your opinion, who are three examples of great presenters?
  3. You say that creating great content begins with respect. Can you elaborate on that?
  4. What does a basic outline for an effective speech look like? What are the components?
  5. Why does the presenter matter?
  6. Why do speakers need to understand about audiences?
  7. You talk about various methods of presentation. What is your favorite?
  8. What are three of your top-ten anxiety reducers for presenters?

Even though Scott is in my Mentoring Group, I really did love the book. I found it very helpful and plan to read through it again.

I gave away 50 copies of How to Become a Presentation God, courtesy of Wiley Books. To qualify, my readers had to comment below. You can find the list of winners here.
Questions: Have you read this book? What did you think? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • Ramesh P

    Thanks for bringing this book to our attention. I personally run into a wall everytime I about to put together a presentation or a talk. I’ve had the privilege to learn from Nancy Duarte & Garr Reynolds. I’d be really interested in learning Scott’s book also.
    Thanks for all the knowledge you share and help us learn from you for FREE and time to time bring these FREE books for us to make it ever better.

  • William G. Jones

    Let’s see. Introvert? Check. Anxiety? Check.Rule of three? Check.

    All through grad school, we were expected to give presentations at least once every two weeks, and I was either on fire or completely flat. Design is not a weak point of mine. Delivery and content are. Yet all the resources I found previously tended to focus more on design than delivery.

    Just watching the interview was quite helpful. But at this point in my life, I’m trying to plug up all the holes in my skillset at presentation is a big hole. Just based on the interview, it sounds like this book would be a great tool for that.

    One question, though. Are there elements of the printed book that wouldn’t translate very well to Kindle? It seems like the Kindle is where I do most of my reading these days but if there are charts and graphs and whatnot, I’d rather spend the extra $3 or so and get the printed version.

    • William G. Jones

      I’m not sure where else to leave this, so I’ll put it here. A big thank you to Michael, Scott, and Wiley Press! I got my copy today, and I totally wasn’t expecting it. It’s a beautiful book and for anybody debating between the kindle and physical versions, I can tell you now, the physical version is worth the extra $3, there are beautiful full-page illustrations throughout the book. However, thumbing through–I just got it, haven’t started reading it yet–I don’t see anything content-wise that would keep me from choosing the Kindle version.

      I must say, though. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a brand new book and I forgot how good they feel, look, and smell!

      • Michael Hyatt

        I agree. They did a great job with the design.

  • Jacob Musselman

    Yep. I want this book. I am getting ready to transition to a place where I will be solely responsible for creating support (financially and every other aspect), and, while good presentations don’t necessarily seal the deal, bad presentations definitely kill it.

    Second, I have been intrigued by a thought I saw on Quora about why people don’t go to church. The person answering the question said people don’t go to church because churches still communicate in a way that the rest of the world has given up. We have the most important message, and we can’t afford our presentation of the message to be an obstacle. We’ve got to be presentation gods.

  • Valerie Comer

    I would love to read and assimilate this book because I’m currently trying to learn about public speaking as part of platform-building. My first book is due out in 2012 and I hope to sell other novels that use the local food movement as a backdrop. I believe that Christians should be at the forefront of sensible environmentalism and local issues, and so often we find them either puffing along at the rear or outright scoffing. As a farmer, beekeeper, and local foods activist in my region, I believe I have things to say that others might receive.

    Thanks for the chance to receive a copy of this book.

  • Lankyofficelad

    I am an engineer and as everyone knows when an engineer gives a presentation they are in for a long haul of jargon no one will understand. I would rather be known as an engineer that gives great presentations that real people can understand. This book would help on that path.

  • Jody Urquhart

    Can’t wait to read the book. Want it because my whole livelihood depends on being a good speaker.

  • Saundra Dalton Smith

    I love to write but not as comfortable with speaking engagements. In connection with my first book being published this year, I’ve been booked to speak to over 700 women at an upcoming conference. The information in this book sounds like just what I need to connect and deliver!

  • Larry H

    Because I regularly present 2 of the most life-changing messages – the Gospel & finances from a biblical basis. People’s hearts & lives are at stake and my dream is to have something like a TED for the Gospel message. Scott’s book might help me realize that dream.

  • Anonymous

    I’m a Children’s pastor, battling with Nickelodeon, Disney, and a plethora of other media outlets. If anything, I need to make every Sunday count given that kids get thousands of messages each day. I need all the help I can get to give messages and presentations that will grab and keep the attention of kids, help messages to stick, and make it portable for them to take home and to their schools. A free copy would help me out incredibly!

  • Curt Iles

    Martin Luther said, “If you want to change your world, pick up a pen.” That’s still true but the 21st Century provides numerous “pen-dipping” opportunity. Presentations, which combine audio, visual, and more, help get our message of hope out.

    I speak over 100 times yearly and am committed to improving and learning. I’ll put this book to good use.

  • carol layton

    I am embarrassedly bad at it. I need expert help.

  • Jody Fransch

    Dear Mike

    As a youth leader and “Pastor in training” I would love to get my hands on this book so that I can take my presentations to a new level, and as a result have a greater impact on the people I have an opportunity to lead and influence here in Zimbabwe.

    Thank you for this fantastic opportunity. Also, I promise to read this book and share with others what I have learned.

    Kind regards

  • SuzanneBurden

    As a theology student in seminary who just came through preaching class, I’d love to get my hands on a book like this that helps me prepare sermons effectively—and especially—to do so with a multi-generational approach. My first church sermon is on Mother’s Day, so this is timely! Thanks for sharing the interview.

  • Rudy Efendy

    It seems interesting book. I want it, and expect to translate it into our language. Currently I am reading ‘The Magic of Speaking’ from Dale Carnegie, so I want to see and compare the contents itself.

  • Anonymous

    I enjoyed that interview. I’m intrigued by the contrast with Steve Jobs, who uses a minimalist approach and Scott’s personal bias towards hundreds of slides in his own presentations.

    I would certainly read the book if I had the chance and would be most interested in Scott’s thoughts on finding which extreme, or happy medium, would work best for my personality. Until now I have leaned toward concise and minimal but I’m always looking for new thoughts and ideas.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Scott actually presents several styles. The Lessig method is the one he describes using with so many slides. There are other alternatives, however.

  • Bakershesings

    I am a woman in ministry and have been shunned by some and it’s not an easy place to be. I need all the information and guidance I can get and it sounds as though this book would help me tremendously. Thank you so much…

  • Alex Humphrey

    Why should I get a free copy of the book?

    Because in high school a young man had an opportunity to help several of his friends. People who were lost and alone in the world suddenly had someone who not only listened to them, but was able to give them good advice that, for some reason, they were likely to follow.

    In church this young man was picked early in life to be trained to be a leader. He was encouraged to purchase and read several leadership books by authors like John Maxwell and other influential Thomas Nelson Authors.

    As time went on the young man went into business school. He took every opportunity presented to him to speak in front of groups. He got better. All the while he continued to have a passion for encouraging the hopeless and alone.

    Upon receiving his degree he found the books of Dan Miller and Chris Guillebeau. Although not Thomas Nelson books, they proved to be influential in the next phase of his life. He would become an entrepreneur and create several small businesses. He would teach other people how to do the same. And someday he would speak to auditoriums filled with women and men and fill them with the hope they longed for. Both the hope in business, and the only true hope: the gospel

    He would never stop learning. He would never stop growing. And with your help, Michael, his next step in the process will be reading “How To Become a Presentation God.”

    Will you help him? Will you help me?

    Thanks for reading my story :)

  • Carol Kent

    As a full time Christian public speaker and as the author of the book, “Speak Up With Confidence” and the founder of Speak Up seminars, I train hundreds of up and coming communicators annually. I try to stay on top of the best resources on developing communication skills I can find to enhance my own speaking skills and to train and recommend to others. I respect your recommendations and would greatly benefit from this book.

  • Roman

    Why do I want this book? Simple: I trust a man with skills like YOU, and someday, I hope I can TOO, speak, as well as you DO! Books you recommend I take to heart, I promise you, I ain’t no fart. Will I read this book? You sure bet I will. And when I’m done, I’ll recommend it to phil.

  • Mike Pacchione

    There’s a scene in Almost Famous where Russell Hammond is standing atop a house, ready to jump into the pool amidst prompting from his fellow party-goers. In a moment of inspiration, he yells “I am a golden god” right before jumping in.

    In the movie this happens because Russell is drunk; that actual feeling of intoxication, of feeling like everything in the world is fitting into its right place — that actual feeling need not be alcohol-induced. Anyone who has ever nailed a speech knows this. All the time spent writing, worrying and fine-tuning your speech works out. You feel like you can do anything. It’s what Russell Hammond felt, but without the cannonball into the pool (and subsequent hangover).

    Next to God’s love, that’s the best feeling in the world for me. I’m starting my public speaking career – the big break is a talk at Nike next month – and I soak up every ounce of advice I hear and read. I’m one of the rare birds who enjoys public speaking. Honestly, there’s no place I feel more comfortable than in speaking to a large audience. To me it’s that same intoxicating feeling Russell Hammond felt. This book will help me to continue to chase it. Either that or I can cannonball into the pool.

  • carol layton

    It’s an effective title.
    It makes me think I’ve always wanted to be a presentation god.
    Or should have.

  • Rosella Kasper

    I believe that God is calling me to speak to other women who have gone through the life altering experiences that I have. Women who need to know God’s healing touch and his love and grace. A book of this nature would be priceless to me and would start me off on the right foot.

  • Reverlandson

    I’m a man ordained by God to preach His Word to His people every week and to students at my school every day. Reason enough!

  • Dan


    I just saw this book at the store but did not get it. I plan on getting it next time. I really enjoyed the interview. I would like this book so I can grow my speaking ability. This is an area I would like to grow and expand. Thank you for taking the time to do the interview. It added value to me.


  • Susan Fontaine Godwin

    I present a weekly webinar on various topics related to copyright compliance in the Christian community, ( and I am forever in search of fresh and innovative ways to communicate my message. After watching the video interview, I feel certain Scott’s book will provide new insight and practical ways to bring excellence to my message.

  • Tanyamagnus

    Are you kidding! As a speaker I am in constant search to not only become a better presenter but keeping current and fresh. This book sounds perfect for me. Thanks for the opportunity.

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  • Robert Ewoldt

    Scott, thanks for your thoughts; I resonated with your thoughts on introverts (since I’m one, too), and about practicing your presentation at least 7 times before giving it. This is something I will start implementing.