“11 Deadly Presentation Sins” by Rob Biesenbach

11deadlysinsbook11 Deadly Presentation Sins by author Rob Biesenbach was recently. I “met” Rob earlier this year when he reached out and invited me to read and review his book. And I am glad he did!

The book is divided into 11 chapters, each about 10 pages long and each chapter offering redemption for one of the most common sins in public speaking. Chock full of actionable strategies and practical tips, this book will resonate with speakers of varying levels of experience.

Here are two points that kept me engaged and wanting more . . .

One of the biggest “buzz” phrases in public speaking is, “Tell a story!” While storytelling is one of the most powerful forms of communications, it is not always easy for speakers to craft a relevant tale, in fact the very idea can be intimidating for many. If you find yourself stuck coming up with stories, Chapter #4, Bad Storytelling, will get you moving. Biesenbach shares heart-warming examples and goes on to explain why they work. This explanation serves as a template your next presentation.

Biesenbach goes on to say, “Facts and logic are rarely the best way to convince an audience . . . instead, give them a reason to care. Make them feel something.” Certainly good storytelling is one way to do this.

Another technique that complements storytelling and helps the audience connect with the speaker is discussed in Chapter 5, No Emotional Pull. In this chapter the author offers a series of questions to tap into your emotions, and provides a roadmap on how to relate them back to the relevant points of your presentation. Good stuff!

The other nine chapters offer redemption for:

  • Failure to Understand Your Audience
  • A Flat Opening
  • Lack of Focus
  • Dull, Ugly Visuals
  • Low-Energy Delivery
  • No Audience Interaction
  • Buying Into Body Language Myths
  • Inadequate Rehearsal
  • A Weak Finish

Here’s the icing on the cake: Biesenbach identifies some of his favorite sources for free, high-quality photos and other public-speaking related resources, as well as citing theories about information overload that may be worth further investigation (e.g. Cognitive Backlog and the Recency Effect).

My measure of a good book? That I walk away with at least 1 concept that sparks my thinking or that I can start using immediately. Rob Biesenbach’s, 11 Deadly Presentation Sins hits the mark!

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