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3.8 out of 5 stars
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 10 February 2011
Witt's counsel to leaders (and to anyone who aspires to move an audience) is sound and helpful. Witt presents his suggestions clearly, compellingly and with lively examples. While nearly all of the references are to American business people or politicians, Witt's advice applies wherever you may be. A little heavy on the praise for Ronald Reagan for my taste, but that doesn't diminish the value of his counsel. This is one of the few very useful books about presenting authentically.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 3 January 2011
I work as a speechwriter, so I've read lots of books in this style. This is one of the best. It's so easy to read. I went through taking note of little gems like,

'You can create any number of slides - hundreds without ever tying anything together into a coherent or compelling idea.'

'If you cannot say what you have to say in 20 minutes, you should go away and write a book about it.' Lord Brabazon.

'What information consumes is rather obvious. It consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.' Herbert Simon, Nobel Prize for Economics

I raced through the chapters picking up the salient points. We seem to have forgotten that leadership is not about communicating information, it's about shaping it into forms that have an emotional impact. Witt gently undermines the PowerPoint obsession by underlining the importance of stirring up feelings, challenging complacency and telling authentic stories. There's very little that's completely original, but it's all told in a fresh and invigorating way.

He quotes Antoine de Saint-Exupery, aviator and author of The Little Prince: 'If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather the wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.'

I find stuff like that inspiring!
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 11 March 2009
I was lucky to come across Christopher Witts book on presentation skills for leaders. For me it has proven to contain lots of ideas, tips and sound advice. Even though I rarely have to speak to large audiences,on a regular basis I work as a trainer. There's sound advice for us traines here too. "Be clear about your message, make it interesting, dare to do the unexpected" - none of this is new but what I found really helpful was the way the information and tips are presented. Once I had started to read, I just became engrossed. Maybe its the wealth of stories and anecdotes which Mr. Witts uses that kept my attention. I love the section on Powerpoint it confirms what was my tentative opinion. Powerpoint can be useful for presenting information, to explain, clarify or substantiate a point. However, it cannot replace the personal approach, the warmth and enthuasism of the speaker. Actually, this is the strength of this book...the writer comes across as someone who is totally enthuastic about his work.....and he knows what he is talking about. If you want to enliven your presentations, this is the book for you.
John Lawless (Ireland)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
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.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
What can you expect from such a dramatic title?

Well, the author justifiably takes the attention away from the presentation and puts it onto the broad shoulders of the presenter, giving them the power and the skills to give an inspirational or motivational speech to any audience with or without powerpoint.

The author has a very chatty but practical style putting emphasis on often over-looked areas such as knowing and understanding your audience, learning and using your own personal styles, and connecting with your audience.

What was different about this book was that not only did I learn and get new ideas about speaking but I enjoyed reading it and how many educational books can you say that about?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 6 January 2013
This book is 90% aimed at speeches, and not so much for presentations.
Although you can of course learn a lot for normal presentations as well, most of the content is not adapted to this.
Also it is very U.S focused, although some pointers about other countries and cultures are mentioned occasionally.
So for me it was somewhat dissapointing to read the book since i was more looking for tips on how to do better presentations rather than speeches, but it is easily understood, and well structured and it was worth the price.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 August 2013
This is an excellent handbook for every person aspiring to lead people. So many practical examples can be applied from day 1.
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on 9 December 2012
This book keep the story simple and gives usable examples of why you should follow it's principles.
I do a lot of powerpoints , and will continue to do so, but I think I do them better now.
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on 11 December 2012
Basically ok book that requires a bit of thought from the reader.
More like na action plan to raise your business profile ,not a book to read and forget more of a workbook for success.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 November 2014
I would like to give this zero stars. Maybe I should have researched the book better first, but it came as part of a deal with some far better books. This was totally uninspiring, took pages to explain simple concepts, and every single example was American. A noddy book of presentation skills.
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