Structure & spontaneity: Lessons from the art of jazz (part II)
Zen, jazz, & creativity: Lessons from the art of jazz (part III)

Bert Decker's Top-10 Best (& Worst) Communicators of 2008

Bert Bert Decker, communications expert and author of several presentation-related books (including this updated version of You've Got to Be Believed to Be Heard), has published his annual Top Ten Best (and Worst) Communicators for the year 2008. This is a very interesting read. Bert's list focuses primarily on famous speakers or news makers in the US; I think you could add many to the list — famous and not so famous — from around the world as well. Feel free to share your favorite (or "best/worst") from other parts of the globe below.

More great communicators (off the top of my head)
Marco I've highlighted some of my favorites over the years such as TED presenter Hans Rosling from Sweden, and fellow TED presenter Sir Ken Robinson from England. Canadian Mitch Joel is an awesome presenter too, as is Toastmasters veteran Bob Harvey from UK (author of Tork and Grunt's Guide to Great Presentations). My buddy and Keynote magician Les Posen in Australia is fantastic as well (see Les's seminars at Macworld this week). I think one of my favorite presenters who belongs in the "the new communicators" category is Marco Montemagno from Italy. I really like the way Marco uses his natural energy and connects with his audience while using slides and other multimedia to enhance his talks. I've talked about Marco before here where you'll find a clip with English subtitles. Here's a clip of Marco in October 08 in Milano doing his "The Internet Show" presentation (in Italian). There are many more clips on Marco's blog.

I'm sure you have your favorite presentations/presenters (or "Best Communicators") from 2008. We'd love to hear your thoughts below.

Mildly-related link
PZ makes "best business books of 2008" list (Miami Herald)



Thanks Garr - when you post, I get hits! And love some of your 'best'. Maybe we should have an international list.
Hope to see you when you are in SF.


My favorite '08 presenter/prezo has to be Benjamin Zander's talk at TED about "one-buttock playing" and "shining eyes." One of the quirkiest, most engaging and humorous presentations of the year (h/t to you, Garr, for pointing me to it in the first place).


Hi Garr,

I've been following your blog for a few years now and I must admit I learned a lot from you.

During the Christmas holiday season I watched a movie with my wife as we do it regularly: the same movie at least twice a year: Love Actually.

There is a scene in the film which I've just found on Youtube with great "presentation", visuals, full of emotion.

Best regards,

Natalie Currie

Another speaker to add to your top list Gar - Stephen Lewis - nothing short of awesome!

Natalie Currie


Are there any good female presenters that you could make note of?


Oh, I just noticed that Bert Decker's top 10 list that you referenced in your post has some women speakers on there...

Mitch Joel - Twist Image

I'm really touched that you included me on this list Garr, especially considering how much time I spend with PresentationZen - both Blog and book when prepping to speak.

I would add Seth Godin, Avinash Kaushik, Joseph Jaffe and Bryan Eisenberg to this list because they all have one very similar technique: humanity... they really touch the human spirit with each and every presentation.

As for real speaking masters, W. Mitchell, Tony Robbins and Jeffrey Gitomer also come to mind.


Benjamin Zander at Pop!Tech... simply amazing.


Hi Garr,

Nice post.

On a loosely realted note, don't you think emails are critical to communication in today's world.

I recently found myself in a position to send a very important email to a high-ranking politician. This email had to convey the information succintly and also be persuasive.

I was hunting around for books that taught us how to; something like "e-mail zen". I couldn't find one!

Can you suggest one?


Sarah Marshall

Hi Garr,
I just wanted to let you know that as a teacher Presentation Zen has revolutionized my life. Occasionally I am nostalgic for the "bulleted" to death slides b/c they were so much easier... but I'm reaching my audience now.
I was on slideshare getting ready for another presentation I have to give and noticed your presentation on John Medina's Brain Rules. Fantastic! Shared it with all my colleagues. I have another book to suggest to you since it seems we have similar book favorites. MINDSET is written by U.S. psychologist Carol Dweck. It is an excellent read for anyone.

Thank you.

Andrew Bryant

Dear Garr,
As part of my work I coach presentation skills to senior executives. Thanks to you I can now concentrate on the physiology of engagement and refer all my clients directly to your website to avoid 'Death by PowerPoint"

I recently linked an article to you from

Miriam Bertoli

Dear Garr, I do agree with you, Marco Montemagno is full of energy and he shares it with the audience. I would add Avinash Kaushik.

Les Posen

Regards to all from Les Posen, Presentation Magic. To catch up with my current thinking on presenting and the skills needed to make them engaging, my Presentation Magic blog is here:


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