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Presenting to Win: The Art of Telling Your Story, Updated and Expanded Edition [Kindle Edition]

Jerry Weissman
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Thirty million presentations will be given today. Millions will fail. Millions more will be received with yawns. A rare few will establish the most profound connection, in which presenter and audience understand each other perfectly…discover common ground… and, together, decide to act.


In this fully updated edition, Jerry Weissman, the world’s #1 presentation consultant, shows how to connect with even the toughest, most high-level audiences...and move them to action! He teaches presenters of all kinds how to dump those PowerPoint templates once and for all and tell compelling stories that focus on what’s in it for the audience.


Weissman’s techniques have proven themselves with billions of dollars on the line. Thousands of his elite clients have already mastered them. Now it’s your turn!


•   What you must do to tell your story

     Focus before Flow: identifying your real goals and message


•   The power of the WIIFY: What’s In It For You

     Staying focused on what your audience really wants


•   Capture your audience in 90 seconds… and never let go!

     Opening Gambits and compelling linkages


•   Master the art of online Web conferencing

     Connecting with your invisible audience


•   From brainstorming through delivery

     Crafting the Power Presentation, one step at a time


Named by FORTUNE Magazine as a "Must-Read"


"Jerry Weissman makes the challenge of producing and delivering effective presentations delightfully simple. Read it and benefit!"

Tim Koogle,Founding CEO, Yahoo!


“A great read for all of us who have ever struggled with any aspect of our public speaking skills. Presenting to Win contains the same timeless techniques that helped me [18] years ago.”

Jeff Raikes, former President, Microsoft Business Division, Microsoft Corporation, and CEO, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation


“Jerry is The Man when it comes to making great pitches. If your pitch doesn’t get a whole lot better after reading this book, something is wrong with you.”

Guy Kawasaki, Managing Director and Chairman, Garage Technology Ventures, and bestselling author of The Art of the Start


“Presenting to Win is the shortest path to applause for any presenter. It will be your bible for the PowerPoint Age. It’s loaded with easy actions and real examples that really work. I’ve used them. I know.”

Scott Cook, Founder, Intuit




Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jerry Weissman, the world’s #1 corporate presentations coach, founded and leads Power Presentations, Ltd. in Foster City, California. His private clients include executives at hundreds of the world’s top companies, including Yahoo!, Intel, Cisco Systems, Intuit, Dolby Laboratories, and Microsoft.


Weissman coached Cisco executives before their immensely successful IPO road show. Afterward, the firm’s chairman attributed at least two to three dollars of Cisco’s offering price to Weissman’s work. Since then, he has prepared executives for more than 500 IPO road shows, helping them raise hundreds of billions of dollars. His techniques have helped another 500 firms develop and deliver their mission-critical business presentations.


Weissman is the author of the global bestseller Presenting to Win: The Art of Telling Your Story (Financial Times Prentice Hall, 2003); In the Line of Fire (Pearson Prentice Hall, 2005) and its companion DVD, In the Line of Fire: An Interactive Guide to Handling Tough Questions (; and The Power Presenter: Technique, Style, and Strategy from America’s Top Speaking Coach.


Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Foreword to the Updated and Expanded Edition

Foreword to the Updated and Expanded Edition

In the five years since the publication of the first edition of Presenting to Win, I am proud to say that it has made a significant impact upon readers, selling more than 100,000 copies in 12 languages. By the same token, I am surprised to say that it has not had as great an impact upon the presentation trade. Despite the many gratifying emails, letters, and telephone calls from around the globe praising the book, and despite the continuing stream of clients that take the Power Presentations program upon which the book is based, I’ve discovered that most presenters, after reading the book or taking the program, nonetheless default to a practice counter to the main theory in its pages.

Simply put, that theory is stated in the subtitle: The Art of Telling Your Story. True to its promise, the book offers techniques about that classic art, but it does so for only two-thirds of its total pages. The other third is about graphic design in presentations, yet that aspect is not even mentioned on the cover. The imbalance is intentional.

The reason for this emphasis on the story, which includes sharp audience focus, clear structural flow, strong narrative linkages, persuasive added value, and even specific positive verbiage, is that the story is much more important than the graphics. No audience will react affirmatively to a presentation based on graphics alone. No decisions are made, no products sold, no partnerships forged, no projects approved, and no ships of state are launched based on a slide show. Witness the powerful speeches that move hearts and minds: State of the Union addresses, inaugurals, nominations, eulogies, sermons, commencements, keynotes, and even locker room pep talks. None of them uses slides.

Therefore, what presenters say and how they say it are of far greater importance than what they show. That is why the lion’s share of this book is devoted to helping you tell your story, and why I have even written about the delivery of your story . . . your body language, your eye contact, and your voice . . . in a distinctly separate new book: The Power Presenter: Technique, Style, and Strategy from America’s Top Speaking Coach.

Does this mean that I am recommending that you abandon all slides ye who enter the podium area? Not at all. Microsoft PowerPoint has become the medium of choice from grade school rooms to corporate boardrooms, and far be it from me to advise a sea change as radical as complete rejection. Graphics play several valuable roles: as illustration of key information, as reinforcement of messages, and as prompts for the presenter, so please leverage this powerful tool.

All I ask . . . no, urge . . . you to do is to use PowerPoint properly, by applying the repertory of techniques provided in the other third of this book. The most essential of which is the overarching principle of relegating your graphics to a supporting role, making you, the presenter, the primary focus.

This seemingly simple plea for a shift of emphasis unfortunately has found very few converts. Presentations are still universally defined by and equated with the slides. This is standard operating procedure with every type of presentation, from IPO road shows to private financing, from product launches to industry conferences, from board meetings to sales pitches, and in every sector of business, from information technology to life sciences, from finance to manufacturing, from pharmaceuticals to real estate, and from media to consumer products. In my 20 years as a coach, I have worked in each of these situations, and have seen this focus on the slides repeated ad nauseam.

Why, then, this misguided imbalance? A brief peek back into history will explain.

Presentations originated as a form of communication back in the dark ages in the middle of the 20th century, when small peer groups within companies gathered around a flip chart perched on a rickety easel to exchange ideas. In that setting, the flip chart became the center of attention as a large surface that all the participants could see and share; but it also served to document the ideas that could later be copied and distributed to others who did not attend the session. The flip chart was such a distinct improvement over the impermanence of a blackboard (and its later cousin, the whiteboard) that it quickly became the display medium of choice in business. In its earliest incarnation then, the sheets of the flip chart served two purposes: as a display during the meeting and as a record that could be duplicated and disseminated after the meeting. This duality can be described as the Presentation-as-Document Syndrome.

This first step in the young life of presentations landed squarely on the wrong foot. By combining the two functions, it formalized an essentially imprudent assumption: that both functions served both purposes when, in fact, they served neither; neither fish nor fowl. A display is not a document. A display is for show (during the presentation), and a document is for tell (after the presentation).

This original sin then proceeded to morph and mutate into its current state of worst practices, driven by successive generations of technological advances.

In the 1960s the medium of choice in the presentation trade had only evolved as far as the primitive overhead projector. That clunky machine, used to display transparent Mylar sheets, known as “foils,” stepped up from its humble origins in bowling alleys to take its place front and center in the conference rooms, board suites, and hotel meeting facilities of corporate America.

At root, however, the overhead projector was still just another manifestation of the Presentation-as-Document Syndrome. The document function of the foils became the connection to and the salvation of dispersed participants. Anyone who could not attend the live meeting took up what was to become the hue and cry of business: “Send me a copy of your foils.”

In the 1980s, the medium of choice advanced to 35mm slides, and the display took on a more professional look. Nevertheless, this new medium was still hampered by the duality factor, which by then had added new aspects to the document function, now implemented by paper prints of the slides. Documents were no longer merely handouts or “leave-behinds.” Their usage widened to include “send-aheads,” (before the presentation) speaker notes (crib sheets), validating evidence (exceedingly detailed data), or a manual (of biblical proportions) for consistency of messaging across the company’s scattered legions.

Having taken on the status of a business mantra, “Send me a copy of your foils” simply shifted to “Send me a copy of your slides.” (Except in some companies, such as Intel Corporation, where even today, although all presentations are done on computers, the employees persist in calling their slides “foils.”) Presenters, forced to straddle the functionality fence, generated slides that doubled as documents, heavily weighted toward text and numeric charts. The net effect was a glut of dense eye charts that assaulted the audience’s sensory intake. Visual aids became visual hindrances.

In the late 1980s, the PC overtook the carousel projector as the medium of choice for the display function, and the floppy diskette became the medium of distribution for the document function. By this time, however, the term “slides” had stuck. Before or after the meeting, it was still “Send me a copy of your slides.” The medium had evolved, but the message stayed the same.

In 1990, Microsoft entered the arena with its release of the Windows version of PowerPoint, an aptly named software application that enabled presenters to make their business points with new and powerful graphics capabilities. Still, despite the continuing evolution of distribution technology from diskettes to CDs to Internet transmission, the business mantra persisted: “Send me a copy of your slides.” Pressured by the exigencies of business, beleaguered presenters continued to oblige the request by using the same presentation for both display and distribution, both show and tell.

In the meantime, PowerPoint succeeded wildly. Within three years of its launch, it became the market leader, a position it enjoys to this day. Each succeeding generation added more and more features and functions, in the process expanding its installed base around the globe, and beyond business into the not-for-profit world, the government, the military, and even into schools.

Throughout it all, the vestigial legacy of the flip chart endured. The Presentation-as-Document Syndrome continued, and still continues to perpetuate its fowl/fish (pun intended) effect on victimized audiences, where neither version serves its intended purpose, and each version is severely compromised by the dual functionality.

If you need a document, create a document and use word processing software. If you need a presentation, create a presentation and use presentation software. Microsoft Office provides Word for documents and PowerPoint for presentations. While both products are bundled in the same suite, they are distinctly separate entities, and never the twain shall meet. Use the right tool for the right job.

Follow the correctly balanced role model you see on all television news broadcasts. The newsc...

Product Details

  • File Size: 1805 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: FT Press; 1 edition (November 17, 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001M60BKK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,296 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - Terrific Coaching on Presentations June 11, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Most of us get so caught up in what we want to say, or believe important, we leave those we are presenting to behind. This book is excellent in coaching one to understand how to be far more effective with presentations. After 30-years of presenting, I still found the information in this book to be priceless.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best presentation content creation book September 12, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There are two parts to presenting: content creation and content delivery. This book is the best one I have found to discuss the content creation. It does so not from the ridiculous "Here's how to make a PPT slide," but rather from the perspective of how to create an organized, impactful and effective message.

This is a must read book and I forced upon my entire sales organization.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST-READ for any human-being! May 30, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book really amazed me... especially because I though I knew something about presentations (one thinks that presentation is just about the simple advices that teachers always tell us in college), but I was completely wrong... if you have never taken a very serious course on presentations (like me), I'm really sure you'll learn many things you never knew you would... Though I am hardly starting to put it in practice, I know it is very useful, especially for business plan presentations, which is the main focus of the author... I recommend it!
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre January 8, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is overhyped. I have a great passion toward delivering powerful presentations and I found this book disappointing. While it will certainly be helpful to the absolute amateur, a lot of Weissman's techniques are mediocre at best. The best sections of the book had to do with the verbal and organizational aspects of giving a presentation - how to brainstorm, how to think of a presentation, how to construct a storyboard, and how the audience's mind works. The worst parts of this book were about the actual craft of creating a presentation - bad Powerpoint advice, bad graphics advice and especially bad advice on how to use bullet-points. Weissman conveys the key point correctly - keep visuals simple, including simple typography, simple use of text, simple use of graphs and images. But the examples he provides are not at all impressive.

If you are a complete beginner to delivering presentations, you may want to browse through this book for some decent advice. If you've been doing this type of work for a while, avoid this book and pick up something by Nancy Duarte or Garr Reynolds. They're both brilliant writers on this topic.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On my "must read" list October 5, 2009
I work in technical marketing. This book is on my "must read" list, and I have recommended it many times. It is short, easy to ready, to the point, and packed with useful information. Note that for engineers (like me), much of the information at first may seem couter-intuitive; however, after "correcting" and creating several successful presentations based on the precepts of this book, I am a complete fan.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not just for presenters... February 23, 2010
One of my coaching clients directed my attention to Mr. Weissman's book saying, "You could have written this book." He is only right in that the basic ideas of always talking to the audience, starting with their concerns or agenda is the way to go for any interview, email or pitch. I teach executives how to answer all questions with a story; an example with an outcome and to understand the objective of the question and the answer. Now I can direct their attention to "Presenting to Win" to add credibility to my point.

Hurray for Jerry Weissman because his advice is good for sales, internal sell, authors who need to make a pitch and certainly job seekers. Even if you get standing ovations (and job offers), you can still benefit from reading the book because it is an easy to read reminder to include your audience in your presentation.
Rita Ashley, Career and Job Search Coach
Author: Job Search Debugged (PDF download [...]
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy Read, Highly Useful August 28, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I finished this easy-to-read book within two weeks and I'm already applying the principles in my work presentations. Although I already was applying most of the principles, I really was missing the "What's In It For You" part in my presentations. Since applying this WIIFY I'm getting a much better response from my team. I also liked the layout/transition tips - the left to right tip I would never have known in a lifetime of presenting. I recommend this book to everyone, from students to businesspeople.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I give many presentations each year, generally to clients or conferences. They tend to be focused on explaining concepts, not financial presentations. The feedback I get is usually extremely strong, even using anonymous feedback mechanisms. Even so, I was able to pick up a few things from this book, especially some of the subliminal cues Jerry highlights (hockey stick, dashes as bullet points,etc.).

Still, I cannot give this five stars. Almost all of the examples relate to financial presentations, and especially those surrounding IPOs. These are certainly important but presenting to a client you've gotten to know over many months or a conference trade group where you don't know anyone are completely different. Many of Jerry's principles don't apply as written in these kinds of diverse venues.
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More About 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 Yahoo!, Intel, Intuit, Cisco Systems, Microsoft, Dolby Labs and many others.

Mr. Weissman founded Power Presentations, Ltd. in 1988. One of his earliest efforts was the Cisco Systems IPO roadshow. 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 nearly 500 other IPO roadshow 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 firms develop and deliver their mission-critical business presentations.

Those same techniques form the basis of Jerry's publications. The book, Presenting to Win: The Art of Telling Your Story, covers his concepts of story development and graphics design. His second book, In the Line of Fire: How to Handle Tough Questions...When it Counts, and its companion DVD, In the Line of Fire: An Interactive Guide to Handling Tough Questions, cover his Q&A techniques.

The DVD contains lessons from the book, illustrated by video clips of tough Q&A sessions in the public arena. It includes press conferences, media interviews and presidential debates, featuring the 2004 debates between President George W. Bush and John F. Kerry.


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