Customer Review

17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing - unless you're a press officer for a political party, 21 Sep 2012
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This review is from: The Presentation Coach: Bare Knuckle Brilliance For Every Presenter (Paperback)
While plenty of customers have given this book 5 stars (a number of whom have not reviewed any other books), I'm going to buck the trend because I found this publication incredibly disappointing. Starting with the positive, there are the odd nuggets of information and suggestions that are helpful, but in my opinion they are few and far between, and buried under long-winded prose. I'm sure the author is an excellent presentation coach, but as an author I think this book is flawed for a number of reasons:

1. The tone of the book is conversational, which is fine except the author tries to be too familiar with readers - at various points, he tries to get readers to compare what he's saying/asking you to do to "an affair you've had". That tone of voice might work in person, but on paper, it's condescending.

2. The author talks in detail and very regularly about speeches made by Tory politicians, but fails to give any mention to Steve Jobs, Abraham Lincoln or the like. I may possibly be in a minority, but I don't want my speeches/presentations to sound like Iain Duncan Smith or David Davies (yes, they are mentioned in this book). Rather, I'd like to know why the author thinks Steve Jobs was a successful presenter and how Jobs' speeches fit within the author's framework. Why do great speeches/presentations work? What's their common link? Politician's speeches are sanitised and written by others for the purpose of keeping voters happy. If you are going to consider politicians then why not Obama, Churchill, Clinton, Roosevelt?

3. There's barely any mention of stories - arguably the most powerful way to present your ideas/pitch/speech. Instead, the author has a rather rigid framework, which he mentions several times per page. It's overpowering and brainwashing.

4. At the end of the book is a curious chapter looking at wedding speeches and after-dinner presentations - completely devoid of any information and comes across as filler that either the author thought of at the last minute, or the publisher wanted to pad the book out.

5. It's a text-heavy book. If you're going to write a book about presenting, then at least make it visual and colourful (as per the framework!). There's about four images in this book, which is ironic given the author talks at length about using fewer words.

6. The author loves himself - it comes across very clearly in the book.

7. There's barely any mention of the TED series of presentations (a couple of fleeting sentences) - internationally acclaimed as some of the most inspiring, insightful and best speeches/presentations around. Why???

I'd recommend if you're looking for a book on presenting you look at:

Resonate Resonate: Present Visual Stories That Transform Audiences
Presentation secrets of Steve Jobs The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience
Perfect Pitch Perfect Pitch: The Art of Selling Ideas and Winning New Business (Adweek Books)

If you haven't already seen them, visit the TED website or watch the TED presentations on YouTube. That's how to make great presentations.

Of course, if you're a Tory press officer, then this is just the book for you.
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