Presentations in Action: 80 Memorable Presentation Lessons from the Masters


“Jerry Weissman is the Jedi Master of presentations and effective communication. I’ve added this important and to-the-point book to my Jerry Weissman collection. Another fabulous read from the Silicon Valley legend.”

Garr Reynolds, author of Presentation Zen and The Naked Presenter

“Across all fields there is one common trait of leaders: the ability to persuade groups to follow. This is the field guide to persuasion, thus the field guide to successful leadership.”

Scott Cook, ...

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“Jerry Weissman is the Jedi Master of presentations and effective communication. I’ve added this important and to-the-point book to my Jerry Weissman collection. Another fabulous read from the Silicon Valley legend.”

Garr Reynolds, author of Presentation Zen and The Naked Presenter

“Across all fields there is one common trait of leaders: the ability to persuade groups to follow. This is the field guide to persuasion, thus the field guide to successful leadership.”

Scott Cook, Co-Founder and Chairman of the Executive Committee, Intuit, Inc.

“These simple lessons make it easier to be much better. Jerry taught me how to capture my audience’s attention in the first minute of my talks with just six words, ‘Tell a story, not a joke.’ What a difference.”

Bill Davidow, Venture Capitalist, author of Marketing High Technology and Overconnected

“Jerry gives you 80 secrets from the world’s best persuaders, compacted into bite-sized chapters that make them easy to read and easy to apply. Taken together they define the dynamics of communication that can and have changed the world.”

Peter Guber, Chairman of Mandalay Entertainment

“There’s nothing I love more than case studies and great presentations. Jerry’s book provides case studies so you can make great presentations. It doesn’t get more enchanting than this.”

Guy Kawasaki, author of Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions

“Loved the book; it is the key to ‘message received’ because what is said is less important than what is heard!”

Vinod Khosla, Partner, Khosla Ventures

“80 presentation lessons from the masters is like listening to football advice from Vince Lombardi--elegant, purposeful, and direct. In this compact but complete book, Jerry Weissman gives you all the right slants on public speaking and presentations.”

C. Richard Kramlich, Chairman, New Enterprise Associates

“Jerry’s coaching has been invaluable for many of our c-suite clients as they prepare for their debut or return to the public markets. His high-impact presentation approach has been tremendously successful.”

Michael Millman, Managing Director, J.P. Morgan—Equity Capital Markets

Want to Make Outstanding Presentations? Learn from the Best!

Legendary presentation coach Jerry Weissman has spent decades showing top executives how to make winning, mission-critical presentations. He’s discovered that the best way to teach effective presentation techniques is to show them in action. That’s what he does in this remarkable book.

Presentations in Action serves up 80 outstanding examples from current events, politics, science, art, music, literature, cinema, media, sports, the military--even ancient history--that offer valuable lessons for today’s presenters. From Aristotle to Oprah, Reagan to Obama, Mark Twain to Jerry Rice, Weissman reveals the universal techniques of human communications…and demonstrates how to turn them into powerful solutions for your most important presentation challenges.

One simple, bite-size story at a time, you’ll learn how to supercharge every single element of your message. Then, Weissman shows how to bring them all together and deliver them in an inspiring…unforgettable presentation...sure to captivate and win over any audience!

Weissman shows you how to

Content: Master the art of telling your story.

Graphics: Design PowerPoint slides that work brilliantly.

Delivery: Make actions speak louder than words.

Q&A: Listen more effectively, and handle even the toughest questions.

Integration: Put it all together in one seamless, winning presentation!

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Weissman, founder of Power Presentations Ltd., and author of three other related books, including the best-selling Presenting To Win: The Art of Telling Your Story, returns with 80 brief lessons. Loosely structured to be a companion piece to his earlier work, Weissman's latest covers content, graphics, delivery, Q&A, and integrating the lessons. One- to two-page chapters lead with a quick anecdote illustrating the lesson in real life and follow up to tie the lesson into a business presentation setting. Chapters range from the useful ("The Free Throw" suggests a ritual action to calm nerves before going onstage) to the obvious (Fear of public speaking is universal), and the book also features a few lessons on integrating the concepts. VERDICT seasoned presenters should find a point or two in this breezy and quick read to improve their speeches a little, but those looking for a guide to becoming a presenter should pick up Presenting To Win instead. For Weissman addicts and veteran presenters looking for a few tips to raise their game.—Brian Walton, Tampa-Hillsborough Cty. P.L., FL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780132489621
  • Publisher: FT Press
  • Publication date: 5/19/2011
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 631,989
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Jerry Weissman is the world’s number one corporate presentations coach. His private client list reads like a who’s who of the world’s best companies, including the top brass at Cisco Systems, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Intel, Intuit, Netflix, Dolby Labs and many others. Mr. Weissman founded Power Presentations, Ltd. in 1988. One of his earliest efforts was the Cisco Systems IPO road show. Following its successful launch, Don Valentine, of Sequoia Capital, and then chairman of Cisco’s Board of Directors, attributed “at least two to three dollars” of the offering price to Mr. Weissman’s coaching. That endorsement led to more than 500 other IPO road show presentations that have raised hundreds of billions of dollars in the stock market.

Mr. Weissman’s focus widened from coaching IPOs to include public and privately held companies. His techniques have helped another 500 plus firms develop and deliver their mission-critical business presentations.

Mr. Weissman is also the author of three books, the bestselling Presenting to Win: The Art of Telling Your Story, named by Fortune magazine as one of eight must-reads; The Power Presenter: Technique, Style, and Strategy from America’s Top Speaking Coach; and In the Line of Fire: How to Handle Tough Questions...When it Counts.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

SECTION I Content: The Art of Telling Your Story

1 A Lesson from Professor Marvel aka The Wizard of Oz 5

How to Customize Your Presentation

2 Obama and You 8

The Most Persuasive Word

3 The “So What?” Syndrome 10

…and How to Avoid It

4 Beware of Jokes 12

Dispelling a Common False Belief

5 Presentation Advice from Abraham Lincoln 14

Clarity, Ownership, and Add Value

6 It Ain't What You Say, It’s How You Say It 16

Lessons in Structure from Jeffrey Toobin and Andrew Weil, M.D.

7 Presentation Advice from Mark Twain 18

Brevity Takes Time

8 Presentation Advice from Mike Nichols 20

How to Find Value in Your Story

9 Show versus Tell in Hollywood 22

The Wrong and Right Way to Tell a Story in Three Films

10 Slogan Power 24

Why the US Army's "Be All That You Can Be" Succeeded

11 How Long Is Too Long? 26

When in Doubt, Leave It out

12 The Elevator Pitch in One Sentence 28

How to Describe Your Business Succinctly

13 Do You Know the Way to Spanish Bay? 30

The Correct Way to Practice

14 Getting to “Aha!” 32

The Magic Moment

15 This Is Your Pilot Speaking 34

A Lesson in Flow from the Airlines

16 Presentation Advice from the iPhone 36

Substance and Style in Your Story

17 Presentation Advice from Steve Jobs 38

The Power of Positive Words

18 Presentation Advice from Novelists I 40

Begin with the End in Mind, Then Write, Rewrite, and Rewrite

19 Presentation Advice from Novelists II 42

Storyboard and Verbalize

20 Microsoft Slogans Score a Trifecta 44

Three Persuasive Techniques

21 Presentation Advice from a Physician 46

Audience Advocacy

22 Presentation Advice from a Politician 48

Audience Advocacy

23 Ronald Reagan Meets Lenny Skutnik 50

The Catalyst of Human Interest Stories

24 Human Interest Stories: A Double Advantage 51

Two Ways to Use Anecdotes

SECTION II Graphics: The Correct Way to Design PowerPoint Slides

25 The Presentation-as-Document Syndrome 55

Never the Twain Shall Meet

26 Blame the Penmanship, Not the Pen 57

Operator versus User Error

27 You Can't Use a Sentence As a Prompt 59

Less Verbiage Is More Useful

28 Baiting the Salesperson 60

Selling Is about In-Person Communication

29 PowerPoint and Human Perception 62

Scientific Support for Graphics Design

30 PowerPoint Template: Combined Picture and Text 64

The Best Positions for Pictures and Text

31 Shady Characters 67

The Wrong Way and the Right Way to Build Text

32 “I Can Read It Myself!” 69

Three Simple Steps to Avoid Reading Slides Verbatim

33 A Case for Case I: Initial Caps or All Caps 71

Text Design in Presentations

34 A Case for Case II: Serif or Sans 73

Font Design in Presentations

35 What Color Is Your PowerPoint? 75

Contrast Counts

36 Presentation Advice from Corona Beer 78

Peripheral Vision Counts

37 The Cable Crawlers 80

How Television Animates Text

38 Computer Animation 82

Three Simple Rules

39 PowerPoint and the Military 84

Sometimes More Is More

SECTION III Delivery Skills: Actions Speak Louder Than Words

40 The Art of Conversation 89

Eye Contact and Interaction Start at Infancy

41 Presentation Advice from Edward R Murrow 91

The "Person-to-Person" Role Model

42 Nonverbal Communication 93

Look Them in the Eye

43 Presentation Advice from Pianist Murray Perahia 95

Concentration Creates Control

44 Presentation Advice from Actress Tova Feldshuh 97

Concentration Creates Communication

45 Presentation Advice from Michael Phelps and Dara Torres 99

How to Control Stress under Pressure

46 Presentation Advice from Frank Sinatra 101

The Art of Phrasing

47 Presentation Advice from Soprano Kiri Te Kanawa 103

The Importance of Breathing

48 The One-Eyed Man 105

Necessity Is the Mother of Invention

49 Bill Clinton's Talking to Me! 106

The Power of Group Dynamics

50 Liddy Dole and Person-to-Person 108

From Law School to the Republican National Convention

51 Fast Talking 109

Fun or Maddening

52 Presentation Advice from Titian 111

Position, Position, Position

53 Presentation Advice from Musicians and Athletes 113

The Value of Effortlessness

54 Presentation Advice from Vin Scully 115

From Reagan to Barber to Scully

55 “Ya’ Either Got It, or Ya’ Ain’t!” 116

The Fear of Public Speaking Is Universal

56 How to Eliminate the Fig Leaf 118

A Presentation Lesson from the Military

57 Unwords 120

Even Barack Obama Says Them

58 To Slip or Not to Slip 122

Been There, Done That

59 The Free Throw 124

A Presentation Lesson from Basketball

60 10 Tips for 30 Seconds 126

Help for Job Seekers

61 You Are What You Eat 127

10 Tips about Food and Drink in Presentations

SECTION IV Q&A: Handling Tough Questions

62 Speed Kills in Q&A 131

The Vanishing Art of Listening

63 A Lesson in Listening from Barack Obama 133

How to Handle Multiple Questions

64 If I Could Tell Jon Stewart... 135

Talk Shows Include Listening

65 What Keeps You Up at Night? 136

How to Handle the Most Frequently Asked Questions

66 Spin versus Topspin 138

The Political World versus the Business World

67 When Did You Stop Beating Your Wife? 140

How to Handle False Assumption Questions

68 Madoff and Cramer Plead Guilty 142

How to Respond When Guilty as Charged

69 Tell Me the Time, Not How to Build a Clock 144

Keep Your Answers Short

70 Presentation Advice from Jerry Rice 146

Grasp the Question before You Answer

71 Politicians and Spin 147

Putting Lipstick on a Pig

72 Murder Boards 149

How Elena Kagan Prepared for Tough Questions

73 Ms. Kagan Regrets 151

Non-Answers to Tough Questions

SECTION V Integration: Putting it All Together

74 The Elephant 155

The Whole Is Greater Than the Sum of the Parts

75 Presentation Graphics Meet Linguistics 156

Symmetry in Graphics Design

76 One Presentation, Multiple Audiences 158

12 Presenters, 12 Stories, 1 Set of Slides

77 The Art and Science of Oprah Winfrey 160

The Secrets of Oprah Winfrey’s Appeal

78 Right or Left 164

The Deep Roots of Human Preferences

79 Graphics Synchronization 168

The Missing Link

80 The House that Jack Built 170

Make All the Parts Fit

Footnotes 173

Acknowledgments 177

About the Author 178

Index 179

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2012

    Excellent Presentation Bullet Points

    Good intel

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2012

    Good advice in small bites

    Much information is presented here in an easy to read format. He takes his own advice, using memorable stories as examples. Covers all the different aspects of presentations. I recommended this to a colleague who has a big presentation in a month.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2012

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    Posted May 26, 2012

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