Monday, June 14, 2010

The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience

Book Club... And Then Some!

The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience    

by Carmine Gallo

Book Review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

This Just as television stations admit their affiliation prior to any review or evaluation they make of a show or product that is produced by their parent company, I have to confess that I am a McGraw-Hill author, and this is a McGraw-Hill product; however, I did not know that until I opened the book to its title page.  (I confess, tongue-securely-placed-in-cheek, that it will be impossible for me to give this book a fair, impartial, and totally honest review!)  Am I biased by my 24-year history of working with McGraw-Hill?  Yes.  Am I biased by my excellent relationships established with the editors who have worked with me throughout this period of time?  Yes. ----but, I am going to continue none-the-less.

Anyone who knows my background knows that I have written more than a half-dozen different college textbooks on the subject of public communication, and my most recent textbook, Communicating Effectively (McGraw-Hill, 2009) (with Saundra Hybels) is currently going into its tenth edition. Half this textbook is devoted to public speaking; it is the section I always wrote even when Hybels was alive (she died in 1999).  My small (Elements of Style-like) book, Public Speaking Rules: All you need for a GREAT speech! (And Then Some Publishing, 2008), available from   , covers all the essential information speakers need.  All this to say, is it any wonder I would be interested in this book by Carmine Gallo?

If you are an experienced speaker or you have read a great deal about public speaking, you are unlikely to find anything new in this book; however, if you want to remind yourself about what it takes to be a great speaker or you just want to polish and hone your skills, then this is just the book.  It is informative, specific, comprehensive, well-written, and complete with wonderful, engaging examples.

Gallo has structured her book much like one of Steve Jobs’ presentations.  That is, she has kept her chapters brief (“Obey the Ten-Minute Rule”—Intermission 1), includes brief summaries at the end of every chapter (“Director’s Notes”), offers short segments within chapters, provides tables, bullet-pointed lists, includes numbers of additional examples (“Share the Stage”—Act II, Scene 11), injects pictures of Jobs at work, begins every chapter with a summary quotation, and furnishes additional quotations, explanations, and stories set aside by brackets (much as my “Consider This” sections in Communicating Effectively).  There are a sufficient number of things going on that Gallo effectively grabs a reader’s attention, and rivets it to the printed page.

Gallo writes about the passion that drove her to write this book: “The purpose of this book is to help you capture that passion [the passion that drives us] and turn it into a story so mesmerizing that people will want to help you achieve your vision” (p. xvii).  She added, “Do not let your ideas die because you failed to present them in a way that sparked the imagination of your listeners.  Use Jobs’s techniques to reach the hearts and minds of everyone you hope to influence” (p. xvii).

If you want a great book on presentational skills, you can’t do better than this one!

This book is both available from The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience

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