Most helpful critical review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Useful but not compelling
on 19 April 2014
The subject matter alone means that this book is never going to worth more than four stars. Essentially Christopher Witt has written a text book for public speakers and I would say he's done a fairly decent job. There is lots of useful and practical advice, and Witt's main point is if you want to move people with your speech or presentation then focus on conveying your message with conviction and passion using stories and imagery that your audience can relate to. Relying on slides or visual aids only tends to distract your audience's attention away from you the speaker, which is not what you want.
Other reviewers have commented that the book is aimed at high-flying execs or regular public speakers, and is therefore not as useful for the average office Joe Bloggs like you and me who need to present to small or medium sized audiences on a regular basis. I agree that the author seems to be writing for the aspiring TED talkers among us, but in fact I think there is lots in here that is applicable to everyday office life. Indeed I highlighted lots of wise words that I shall review next time I prepare a talk.
The great shame is that Witt didn't aim his book more towards the masses. In my view he has missed an opportunity to really take a stand against the scourge of bad, dull, bullet-laden Powerpoint presentations that pervades the corporate culture of today. A real leader would have used his passion and insight to inspire a widespread popular movement against the use of Powerpoint in the office. (Surely someone must have done a TED talk on that by now?!)
Instead he wrote a text book, and a slightly padded out text book at that. There's nothing wrong with that, and there's plenty of value to be found in Witt's writing. However, for an equally useful, and slightly better written book on the subject of presentations, I would also urge a look at the first half of Life's a Pitch by Bayley and Mavity.