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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


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Tools of Engagement: Presenting and Training in a World of Social Media by Tom Bunzel (Pfeiffer) Times are rapidly changing in the presentation field in the early twenty-first century. Travel constraints, budget concerns, and the advent of new technology have mandated that many individuals who might have in the past addressed their audiences directly and personally need to do so electronically, across large distances.

In addition, the instantaneous nature of the Internet has made it possible for individuals and businesses to connect with each other in new and amazing ways, forging online communities and networks that commingle personal and professional issues.

The software and technology that enables this process is continually changing and is quite complex. While Fortune 500 corporations may still avail themselves of proprietary broadband networks that support sophisticated and expensive videoconferencing, more and more organizations are using reasonably priced software over the Internet to reach out to customers, clients, colleagues, students, constituencies, and other audiences.

But how to make sense of this varied and vast assortment of tools and feature sets?

In Tools of Engagement Tom Bunzel, technology coach for corporations and the author of numerous books and articles, discusses the technological, logistical, and thematic requirements of reaching out to a world that sees a presentation or a communication in an entirely new way: as a video, an e-mail, a slide show, a real-time broadcast, a Twitter update or tweet, or even something not yet conceived. Bunzel in Tools of Engagement provides an overview of the latest trends and programs, demonstrates proven and popular software, and takes readers through many possible scenarios of presenting, communicating, and learning in the new social media universe.

Tools of Engagement is not a book devoted directly to social media there are many of those already in print. Instead, Bunzel investigates how the new social tools and programs interface, influence, and inform the presentation and training landscape that currently exists and to address a key issue: how to convey an important message in the most effective way in the current environment.

The chapters cover the following landscape:

Chapter Two takes readers through an overview of how presentation has changed and has been influenced by the new social media landscape in the early twenty-first century.

Chapter Three concentrates on the nature of social media as a game changer as it shifts the focus of training, learning, and marketing from selling to building relationships of trust and establishing an effective identity in this new world.

Bunzel discusses in Chapter Four how to implement some of the more popular social media tools and strategies with an overview of representative programs and Web sites; Chapter Five focuses on two of the major social networks (Twitter for everyone, Ning for targeted networks), all with an emphasis on training and communication.

Chapter Six begins to integrate the new trends with more familiar communication tools and goes into some detail in how to leverage existing skills in graphics and PowerPoint (and its new online cousins) to deliver a visual message.

The very nature of meetings as part of an ongoing conversation with an audience is a theme throughout Tools of Engagement, so Chapter Seven addresses various scenarios for conveying information at a specific venue particularly when the venue is virtual or in a Web page. Bunzel covers the steps necessary to get an online meeting scheduled, plan its contents, rehearse and prepare, deliver meaningful content over the Web, and follow up with a strategic plan to take advantage of all aspects of the event going forward as the presenter or trainer continues the conversation.

Chapter Eight speculates about what is likely to come next and about the meaning of the incredible changes that are taking place in how we present, communicate, and learn.

Throughout Tools of Engagement, case studies and scenarios are used to demonstrate the various ways to communicate across many platforms and for a variety purposes. Bunzel also presents specific examples of representative programs and tools and how they can be implemented. The landscape is changing so rapidly Bunzel discusses current programs that perform specific tasks and concentrates on their intent and focus.

To demonstrate the most important features and benefits of these tools, screen shots are provided as illustrations throughout the book.

The primary audiences for the information covered are managers in traditional corporations who need to create and sustain a high-performing team or organization; executives who seek to create a participative and innovative corporate culture; sales and marketing organizations that thrive on customer feedback and loyalty; and customer service and public relations organizations that seek to improve customer relationships. The audience for Tools of Engagement is growing rapidly as potential communicators, educators, and presenters, realize that a combination of tools and skills can enable them to reach larger audience across oceans, time zones, and other geographic and physical barriers.

The main takeaway in this thorough and accessible book is the idea that today's business and educational environments require a mash-up mentality. It takes a constantly changing blend of tools, techniques, and strategies to achieve direct, immediate, and effective communication. Robert L. Lindstrom, former editor, Presentations and Multimedia Producer magazines; author, The BusinessWeek Guide to Multimedia Presentations

If ever there were a person to really dive into the trenches and discuss the practical implications of the social media revolution, it's Tom Bunzel. Rick Altman, author, Why Most PowerPoint Presentations Suck; president, The Presentation Summit

Tom Bunzel has had his pulse on the new social technology and its impact on communication and entertainment and writes about it effectively and with conviction. Victor Harwood, president, Digital Hollywood, Inc.

Clear and cogent. Tom Bunzel's gift is translating what can be dry and difficult material into something that I can learn and use immediately. Leslie Lundt, M.D., author, You Can Think Like a Psychiatrist and 40 Cases

Takes a topic as dynamic as social media and makes it understandable and relevant. Jim Endicott, president, Distinction Communication Inc.

Tools of Engagement is a powerful addition to every presenter and meeting planner's bookshelf. Joyce Schwarz, keynote speaker/moderator and author featured on E Entertainment TV, CBS Radio, and other media

Tom Bunzel has been very helpful to my business as we continue to grow into this new media paradigm. Kim Calvert, editorial director, Singular Magazine

Tools of Engagement is a thorough, accessible, clearly written guide from a recognized expert to the new media and the integration of the old and the new. Lets face it; we all need to learn this stuff.


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