||Harvard Business School Press
Give Powerful Speeches to Audiences of Five or Five
There are several universal truths about public
speaking. Most people hate doing it, and most don’t
do it well. And not surprisingly, most audiences
retain just a fraction of a typical speech’s
content. Given these obstacles, why—in an age of
telecommunications tools such as videoconferencing
and e-mail—do we continue with "live" presentations
Communications expert Nick Morgan says we do so
because speeches remain the most powerful way of
connecting with audiences since ancient Greek times.
But as television has ushered us toward a more
informal, conversational mode of public speaking, we
have forgotten much of what the Greeks taught us
about the importance of form and structure in speech
giving. Even more crucial, we’ve lost the physical
connection with an audience that does more than grab
attention; it impels action.
Morgan says this "kinesthetic connection" comes
from listening to your audience with your whole
body, through everything from eye contact to facial
expressions to gestures. In Working the Room, he
draws from nearly twenty years of experience as a
speech coach and consultant to offer a new,
audience-centered approach to public speaking that
combines the best of ancient Greek oratory with
modern communications research.
Through entertaining and insightful examples,
Morgan illustrates a practical, three-part
process—focusing on content development, rehearsal,
and delivery—geared toward engaging an audience on
every level: emotional, intellectual, and physical.
Presenters from novices to seasoned orators will
learn how to:
• Craft an "elevator speech" that concisely nails
the key message.
• Prepare a compelling "story line."
• Rehearse effectively.
• Involve the audience.
• Choreograph body language to reinforce the core
• Channel nervousness into positive energy and
• Master the technical details of voice, posture,
gesture, and motion during delivery.
Whether speaking to a handful of employees or a
keynote audience of hundreds, anyone can use these
principles to give speeches that challenge minds,
impassion hearts, and empower audiences to change
the world, one idea at a time.
From Publishers Weekly
This useful guide to modern public speaking in
business situations begins (as did public speaking)
with the ancient Greeks. It's an auspicious start:
the Greeks' influence lasted into the 20th century,
even after television made our relationship with
most of the speakers we hear far more intimate.
Morgan, the founder of a communications coaching
company, proposes what he calls "the
audience-centered presentation process," in which
the speaker listens to that audience-two-way
communication, in other words. Morgan breaks down
the generation of such a presentation into a series
of steps, with guidelines and methods for overcoming
phobias (he is adamant that his readers conduct the
most intensive rehearsals possible, including at
least one in the actual presentation site). He also
warns against Q & A sessions (particularly for the
media), lame and irrelevant jokes, and
videoconferencing, and seems to loathe Power Point.
While he speaks of
Buy the Book:
"kinesthetics"-"being aware of
the position and movement of the body in space"-he
generally avoids polysyllables and never pushes
fancy-sounding concepts as magic wands. This is a
clear, engaging guide any socially and verbally
competent person can benefit from, and not only
those readers speaking to the business world.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.