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Working the Room: How to Move People to Action through Audience-Centered Speaking Hardcover – 1 Mar 2003

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About the Author

Nick Morgan is Editor of the Harvard Management Communication Letter and founder of Public Words, a communications coaching company.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
I'LL BEGIN WITH A BRIEF HISTORY OF HOW we got to the rather sorry state of public speeches and presentations we find ourselves in today. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 33 reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
This is about giving speeches 8 May 2008
By Tom Carpenter - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The concept of giving a speech is very different from the more general concept of public speaking. For example, a trainer who teaches a class for five days is a public speaker; however, she is not really giving a speech. A speech is shorter in nature and very focused. One might argue that a training class is just a collection of speeches, but this is untrue. The public speaker - acting as a trainer - must involve the audience more so that they really learn and retain the information. The public speaker - acting as an orator or speech giver - does not have the same demands placed upon him.

Why all this discussion of speech versus training? Because this book seems to indicate that it is about public speaking (the back cover says, "There are several universal truths about public speaking") in general, but it is really about giving a speech. I point this out because the research shows that many recommendations in the book are completely wrong when applied to training though they are correct when applied to speeches.

For example, recommending that you do not use slides (I won't say PowerPoint because there are many presentation tools used for delivering slides) is a great suggestion for a speech but a horrible recommendation for training. Visual aids are absolutely and scientifically proven to improve the learning process in a training event. Slides should definitely be used to represent processes, show technical concepts and so on in a training class. The question is this: are you going to get extremely technical in a speech? It's doubtful; however, if you are, you should probably use handouts with the speech.

This is why I gave the book four stars. I think it's one of the best books I've read on giving speeches; however, it is not the best book on the more general topic of public speaking - which includes training. The back cover should be clearer about the focus of the book. Believe the cover and not the description is the best advice.

In fairness though, there aren't a lot of good books about public speaking in general that give the right advice for the varied types of presentaitons. You usually do need to get a book on the specialized mode of presentation in which you'll be involed. This book is an excellent one for giving speeches.

I'd recommend Beyond Bullet Points as another excellent book that shows how slids can be effectively used in a speech and Life is a Series of Presentations for a general resource on public speaking.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Turbo Charging Your Presetation Skills 11 July 2003
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Finally, a truly great book concerning the art/craft of public speaking. If you heard advice like "picture the audience in their underwear", then you owe it to yourself to read "Working the Room". In this insightful and eminently useful text, Nick Morgan explodes the myths of bad speech-making and crafts a better mousetrap.
Morgan's central theme is that the the only reason to give a speeach is to "change the world". According to the author, a speech is not a collection of information rather it is a forum to showcase the unique passion of the speaker to sway hearts and minds in the audience. Morgan takes the reader through a thorough process of crafting a speech, rehearsing it, and rendering it to an audience in an entirely new and effective way. I guarantee that you will never think of giving a presentation the same way again. Hint: It has nothing to do with the quality of your PowerPoint.
Morgan's style is first rate. Filled with useful insights and stories, the book is lazer precise, witty, and absolutely right on time. No fuzzy thinking here. Just solid advice from a unique perspective. It's also an excellent length. It isn't too short and at the end, like many great reads, it leaves you wanting more!
If you are a person who presents on a regular basis or even if you are a neophyte looking to hone your speaking skills, there is only one book to buy and that's "Working the Room."
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Powerful, practical, proven principles on public speaking 5 April 2003
By John Baldoni - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Nick Morgan nails it. No one working with people can achieve much of anything without the ability to communicate effectively. "Working the Room" is an artful blend of theory and story that shows how to develop a message and deliver it. Very useful are the analyses of speeches and speaking styles of great orators from the past as well as contemporary sources. These historical references give context to how the nature of the stand?up presentation has changed from podium oratory to up?close and personal relationships via the media. According to Morgan, speakers need to connect with their audiences "kinesthetically" a blend of word, action and commitment. "Working the Room" contains solid advice on developing the speech, choreographing the speech, and rehearsing the presentation to get everything just right. And unlike many other books on this topic, Morgan addresses the need to listen to the audience and react accordingly in order to connect with impact and meaning. Morgan begins Working the Room with a quote from a speechwriter who postulated the only reason to give a speech was to "change the world." There is no better advice to give to any speaker in any environment. For anyone who cares about the power of the spoken word, either as speaker or writer, this book is a must?read and a must?have. I heartily recommend "Working the Room."
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Book on Universal Speaking Techniques 18 Feb 2006
By P. Smith - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book on public speaking. Nick Morgan does everything from give his philosophy behind why to give audience-centered speeches, to throwing in several of the detailed pitfalls and tips from his years of coaching real people.

Best of all, I find that I can incorporate his techniques into any speaking event, whether it is giving a stand-up speech to 50 people, or having a Monday morning staff meeting with 5.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who at all relies on public speaking in their profession or personal life.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A Very Valuable Read 10 July 2003
By Karim Sahyoun - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I tend to hate business related books. They are usually boring and trite. Someone whom I respect and who had hired Nick Morgan gave me this book. To my surprise, I found it insightful, easy to read and very thought provoking. I am about to buy it for two friends who need it and who I hope will find it as useful as I did.
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