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on 29 September 2010
I eagerly awaited this book as I know I have drifted into some bad habits in using PowerPoint. What I found was immediately rewarding.

It is many years since I went on some formal training for presentation skills, which incidentally was superb, but it is so easy to get stale and forget some of the basics on preparation.

Graham Davies (GD) has tackled the subject in a well structured way with a easy to follow "pipeline map" to guide us through analysis and design to the target outcome. He also points out that there are so many forms and types of presentation where this advice, preparation and delivery will mean better results are achieved.

I tried some of the changes at my first face to face meeting, after reading the book, where I had analysed and improved my micro-statement approach. The results were good; my colleagues were enthusiastic, interested and convinced about the discussion we had. My opening "spike" seemed to work.

I will have to re-read the book and certain chapters several times to really get the improvements and satisfaction I want. I am convinced that my future presentations in message, supporting content and impact to my audience will improve step by step. It took me a while to understand the "bare knuckle" aspect but I eventually clicked with the term - for a Knockout result. I also know I have a tendency for delivering too much detail and this is nicely addressed in the preparation and filtering and editing areas.

I was half expecting the book to be quite turgid and full of complexity - not the case. GD has an `easy to read' and inclusive style and so reading is very quick and painless. I could apply all of the lessons to my business focussed world - I am never going to be an after dinner speaker! But, with a few more reads and a following wind, who knows what I may achieve this time next year?
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on 6 October 2010
I started reading this book on the Tube home and became so engrossed that I continued reading it whilst cooking my dinner, eating said dinner and subsequently whilst sitting in front of my empty plate. It is rare to find a practical guide which also manages to be incredibly funny - I laughed out loud at least six times. I will certainly be using the techniques myself - I almost cheered at the end of the diatribe about Powerpoint, currently the bane of my life. I was glad the author also finally rubbished the "body language" theory; perhaps now all career-management presenters will stop chanting that smug nonsense at the beginning of every seminar. In short, I thought this book was marvellous: concise, energetic and totally user-friendly. I urge anyone even thinking of doing any sort of presentation to buy this immediately.
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on 21 September 2012
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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VINE VOICEon 17 November 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I don't tend to have to deliver presentations but as I work in business development for an advisory firm - I often have to create them for consultants.

I really liked the way this book dissects the entire cradle-to-grave process of creating and delivering a presentation. There are so many pitfalls that so many of us are guilty of ('death by power point', excessive detail, pleasantries, etc) and having these brutally exposed is actually a very good thing which has made me much more self-aware.

I liked the detailed process behind a good presentation that the author advocates and lays out; eminently sensible and, because it's described in quite a non-esoteric way, it's actually very practical and straight forward to adopt. I also liked the very practical tips about PowerPoint itself (never use less than a 36 point type-face, go sans-serif (Arial) rather than serif (Courier), for example).

The concept of spike was really well put forward and has certainly made me STRONGLY rethink how I put presentations together from now on. It really is very good advice.

In closing: anyone who is serious about wanting to create and deliver high quality presentations I would strongly recommend this book to.
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on 19 November 2010
Ever wondered how to make the leap from being a good presenter to being an excellent presenter? Ever wondered how to create succinct, relevant presentation material without an over reliance on technology? Ever wondered how to avoid always settling for cattle class when you could be travelling in style? If the answer to any of the above questions is 'yes', then you should buy this book.
Graham Davies presents, in a very easily digestible format, the Bare Knuckle Presentation Methodology. The book describes the steps necessary for analysing your audience, gathering your ideas, filtering your ideas, grouping your ideas, presenting your ideas and answering questions using the Bare Knuckle Methodology.
For a business book the Presentation Coach is very easy to read. It is funny and it gets to the point - quickly.
I have bored fellow commuters, fellow presenters and friends with how good this book is and now, through this review, I can bore the entire planet.
In summary this book is excellent and if you're serious about presenting, buy it.
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on 30 September 2010
This book doesn't mess around. It's the literary equivalent of having the information punched into your head. And it's all priceless advice based on the author's extensive experience on his hind legs working audiences and knocking some of the very biggest hitters of the business and political worlds into shape. It's also very funny. You'll laugh as you learn.
As a professional speechwriter, my instinct is to pick out some choice examples to illustrate why I think this is such a powerful book. Why it's so good on grabbing the audience's attention. Why it's so good on brevity and simplicity. Why it's brilliant on clarity of purpose. But it's all good. There's not a word wasted. If you want to make better speeches and presentations, order a copy. And make use of it.
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on 9 December 2012
I came to this because having done a number of successful presentations, I wanted to challenge my own style. I had a nagging suspicion that I could move up a level further by concentrating on just speaking (in some situations) rather than trying to be a master of Powerpoint or Prezi.

It is well worth reading, and it confirmed a lot of my half-developed thoughts. It also contains a lot of good tips. It is very precise in sticking to one formula, and some may find that a bit over-prescriptive, particularly for presentations other than the big set-piece. It's sometimes a little bit smug, and I wonder also if it's not a book for the novice - you probably have to have a reasonable amount of experience of presenting to get the most from it, and the confidence to adopt a style quite different from that employed by the vast majority of corporate presenters. But the core messages of an emphasis on preparation, the creation of a Micro-Statement and Spikes, are well worth understanding and absorbing, and can be deployed in creating written documents as well as presentations.

The second half of the book moves away from the presentation structure which is the core theory, and deals with a more random selection of presentation-related topics. Don't overlook these sections - the chapters on humour and after-dinner speaking are vital reading, even if you have no intention of trying to make people laugh or getting onto the after-dinner circuit.

I've also found that there's been an on-going benefit from reading this book. Since finishing it, I've been watching other people's presentations with a much more educated eye, which has been as useful in developing my thinking as reading the book itself.

A final word on format. I read this on my Kindle, and this sort of book is perhaps not ideally suited to the Kindle format. It's a book you might want to lend to somebody, or thumb through for ideas when getting ready for a big presentation. Kindle doesn't lend itself to that.

However, that's not a detraction from the book itself, which I would thoroughly recommend this to anyone who presents regularly and wants to up their game.
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on 30 September 2010
I book a lot of speakers and I have booked the author, Graham Davies. He is one of the best and having read this book it is clear that he takes his own advice. It is a carefully written book in which every word on every page has a purpose.

Even the very best speakers could find something in The Presentation CoachThe Presentation Coach: Bare Knuckle Brilliance For Every Presenter: The Straight Talking Guide to Brilliant Presentations that could help them improve content or delivery. Those who aren't the greatest speakers can gain a huge amount from the book. If there were such a thing as "speaker school" this should be the course book.
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VINE VOICEon 15 June 2016
Method ok with notable omissions from the author's consideration (other reviewers noted no analysis of how famously great speakers fit into the author's 'framework' - such as Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King Jr, Bill Clinton, etc.).

Also could use better editing - several grammatical errors and mistyped superfluous words e.g. "should be now needs to be" making some sentences difficult to follow.
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on 1 March 2012
In my working life I've been making presentations for about twenty years. How I wish I'd read this book at the start of it! I really can't recommend this book highly enough, although I think that to benefit from the vast amount of experience-driven advice it gives, you have to be in a position to be able to practice what it preaches. If you're looking for a book to help you with a one-off presentation you have to make, I think this might be a bit advanced. On top of that, the style is no nonsense, straight talking and highly opinionated - you're either with this bloke or you deserve to die on your ar*e when the spotlight turns on you! It's also very amusing too, which makes it an enjoyable as well as a practical read. At the same time, it never verges away from the message, and some of the techniques are going to take a lot of commitment if you're going to take the book seriously. If you do, however, I really think that the advice herein is top notch, and I'm already itching to try out some of the tips when constructing and making my next presentation. It's one of the very few business books I'm thinking of buying for other people to benefit from, and I can't give higher praise than that. Excellent stuff.
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