“The Leader’s Guide to Speaking with Presence” by John Baldoni; AMACOM

In the business world, leaders are expected to be able to present and communicate confidently and authoritatively to their teams, customers, and executives. For most of us public speaking is terrifying and even the best leaders can be let down by poor presentation skills. This book provides some key tips on how to prepare PowerPoint presentations to maximise their effects, how to prepare for a speech, and how to behave during the speech to engage with the audience and project confidence and authority.

The book is quite short with a number of chapters covering different areas of presenting and engaging with teams as a leader. At the end of each chapter is a little “Action Steps” section that provides a brief checklist of things to think about and trying order to reinforce the contents of the chapter for your individual needs.

This book is  aimed at people in the business world, and so the examples and suggestions are most relevant to people in that environment, although much of the general advice is more widely applicable. The guidance provided in the book are the kinds of techniques and tips that you would receive if you were to attend a formal course on presenting skills, so it does provide a useful alternative for busy leaders who don’t have the time or budget to go on a course. On a course you would get some unbiased feedback on your style, and although the book doesn’t suggest it,  you could get some help in that area by recording yourself whilst practising your speech. This can help highlight unwanted behaviours that you can improve ahead of time.

The book does have useful advice, but is a bit wishy washy in places and lacking in details. The inclusion of some of the suggestions seems a little out of place such as “walking the halls” and views on optimism. In some places the book also has a very PowerPoint-like bulleted list style, giving the impression that the book may have derived from a presentation itself.

This book is worth a read if you have to do a presentation and need some tips on how to prepare and overcome nerves, or if you are a leader and are having problems getting your message across.

For more information, see the O’Reilly product page.

 

 

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