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Working the Room


Nick Morgan


ISBN 978-1578518197
Format Hardcover
Publisher Harvard Business School Press
Published April 2003


Give Powerful Speeches to Audiences of Five or Five Hundred

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 at all?

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 idea.
• Channel nervousness into positive energy and passion.
• 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.

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People notice change. You notice the hum of the air-conditioner when it comes on and when it goes off – but not in between. So change will re-engage in your presentations as well.  =>








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