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Real Leaders Don't Do PowerPoint: How to Sell Yourself and Your Ideas Hardcover – February 3, 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business; 1St Edition edition (February 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307407705
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307407702
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #526,282 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Witt's succinct and humorous assessment of leadership strategies and the art of the public presentation, the business consultant focuses on the basics and the particulars that often go by the wayside when speakers rely on crutches like PowerPoint. A good speaker and leader knows that the individual is inseparable from his or her message, that ideas must be conveyed simply and powerfully, and that conviction is paramount to get others on board. Witt, founder and president of his own Witt Communications company, goes into great detail illustrating exactly what a successful speaker does and how those skills translate to good leadership. While Witt's primer doesn't say anything particularly new, it's a fine demonstration of his principles at work: well-organized and straightforward, with plenty of concrete take-away techniques. Geared toward those looking to get a leg up at work, shape their ideas and overcome the public speaking jitters, Witt's quick, witty instructional makes a fine addition to the office arsenal.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

By gearing his expertise to leaders who must wean themselves from PowerPoint and similar business crutches, communications consultant Witt (with the help of Fetherling) has struck figurative gold. As organizational representatives, crisis managers, major influencers, and the source of inspiration, executives have no choice but to master presence. The four elements of Demosthenes’ great speeches act as a fulcrum: great person, noteworthy occasion, compelling message, and masterful delivery. And the author follows those points faithfully, presenting his case in short chapters, with plenty of well-recognized examples (Ronald Reagan, Martin Luther King Jr., and Sojourner Truth) and with easy-to-understand principles. On anyone’s list of favorites is learn how to chunk your content, show and tell, and deliver the real you. Although this won’t write your next speech, it will help you begin to incorporate powerful words married with the right kind of tone and body language. --Barbara Jacobs

More About the Author

I work with business leaders -- CEOs, presidents, executives, business owners, and senior managers -- who want to motivate, inspire, and influence audiences.

I also work with high-level technical professionals -- senior scientists, engineers, and programmers -- who want to win people's attention, respect, and cooperation.

And I help government contractors, construction companies, project management and engineering firms make winning proposals for large contracts.

At times it's hard for me to realize that I make my living giving speeches and helping other people give speeches. My first experience in front of an audience ended in disaster. I tripped over my words and got so embarrassed that I fled the stage without finishing my speech. I was 18. It took me years to get over the experience. Now I love helping people who hate to speak learn how to love it.

I'm a Board Certified Coach and a Certified Management Consultant.

I have a background in education and ministry.

I live in San Diego. (Lucky me!)

Customer Reviews

It's quick, easy, interesting, and practical.
Jean Valjean
I intend to use this book when preparing my speeches and presentations to better engage and influence my audiences.
David Boisselle
That is why, if I were a billionaire, I would buy anyone who must give a presentation THIS BOOK!

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By David Boisselle on May 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I recently attended a conference where the speaker promised a "speed version" of her presentation, "since I'm the only thing between you and lunch!" Suffice to say, nearly 90 minutes and 47 slides later, we were brain-dead and hungry. The good lady, bless her heart, reverted to an all-too-familiar form, "Death by PowerPoint," despite her stated intention not to.

Christopher Witt (with Dale Fetherling) has written a bromide for those of us (and who among us would cast the first stone?) inflicting this punishment on our audiences. Witt, a veteran speech coach and consultant, seeks to rein-in the tendency to polish our PowerPoint skills at the expense of communicating our vision and message.

Real Leaders Don't Do PowerPoint is intended to get leaders to return to making their thoughts, convictions, vision, and character manifest themselves in what they say, and stop trusting PowerPoint to make their points. Witt says leaders need to be different for the following reasons: 1) leaders speak when a lot is at stake, 2) leaders speak as representatives of their organizations, 3) leaders speak all the time, 4) leaders speak because it's their job, and 5) leaders speak to influence and inspire.

Witt gives a modern-day endorsement of Demosthenes, the father of Greek oratory, for his timeless four elements of a great speech: 1) a great person, 2) a noteworthy event, 3) a compelling message, and 4) a masterful delivery. Therefore, he divides his book into four main parts. Part One charges the leader with realizing that he or she is the message and to tailor his or her remarks to identify to the audience who they can become, to influence the way they think and feel, or to inspire them to action.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Oscar Trimboli on February 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
It's my job to market & sell PowerPoint, every day in Australia for Microsoft - so the title got my attention.

The principal concept of the book is VERY simple

Great speakers change the mind of their audience and get them to act.

Almost 2,500 years ago Demosthenes, the father of Greek oratory, cited four elements of great speech 1) a great person 2) a noteworthy event 3) a compelling message 4) a masterful delivery

Leaders speak to make a difference, and unsettled times are when their words have the biggest impact

A great speech is not to inspire - a great speech is to inspire and make the audience want to act

Military leaders before battle, political leaders in time of crisis, coaches at half time, preachers all the time - they know that what people often need is not more instruction, but more inspiration, not more "how to" but more "you can".
Those speeches allow you to remind your audiences who they are or can be, to show them a new way of seeing the world, or even a world they haven't yet imagines and to stir them up by speaking not just to their heads but to their hearts and their imaginations.

A commanding presence
1) Be yourself
2) Be in the moment
3) Be interested
4) Be unafraid
5) Be connected
6) Be grounded

People tend to discount whatever is plentiful and readily available. So parcel out your thoughts carefully. Speak less often and have a bigger impact.
"If you can't put the bottom line message on the inside of a matchbox, you're not doing your job" Eisenhower or Write the idea for their speech on the backside of their business card.

To communicate "Big ideas" use "Small words"

The truth is any fool can complicate something.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Barney on March 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book contains groundbreaking material for most of us. Mr. Witt clearly establishes Leadership as the commanding role of a speaker and purpose of a presenter at any level -- and properly places PowerPoint into its support role, as a tool, to be used only if and when absolutely necessary.

I am consistently appalled watching the majority of so-called industry experts and management speakers deliberately choose their role to be the "voice-over" narrator, being prompted and led along like a kitten with flickering images on a wall or screen.

Kudos to Chris Witt for challenging us to be leaders - to inspire, to motivate, and to influence the audience in some tangible way - when we speak and present our ideas. I humbly admit that I forgot how to be an effective speaker and leader by relying on PowerPoint to speak for me.

Thanks also for admonishing us to stop bowing subserviently to a projection wall - losing eye contact and personal rapport with our audiences - while seemingly awaiting magical enlightenment from the pretty charts, bullet points and spreadsheets spewed forth by the PowerPoint entity.

This is a masterful book and a timely topic, exceptionally well written by a leader, for neglectful and aspiring leaders.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Gabrielle on May 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Even though I wrote a book on how to use PowerPoint more effectively in business, the truth is there are different kinds of presentations. PowerPoint is great for informing and driving decisions, especially when the content is complex.

But there are other presentations that are better when you put the slides away and just talk. Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have a Dream Speech" would not be improved with PowerPoint slides.

Chris Witt's Real Leaders Don't Do PowerPoint, covers these kinds of presentations. More than just a how-to book for speakers, it's an earnest manifesto for leaders to come out from behind their slides and do what only they can uniquely do - build an organization's confidence, rally their emotions and galvanize them for action.

And that's best done without PowerPoint slides.

Witt's principles are a modern-day telling of the four principles of Demosthenes, the father of Greek oratory, and so Witt's book is divided into four sections.

Part 1: A Great Person. A real leader is authentic and doesn't try to act like leaders are "supposed" to act. Leaders take a stand on issues. Leaders have a clear identity. The best way to be mediocre is to imitate others, avoid saying anything controversial and hide the things about you that make you unique.

Part 2: A Noteworthy Event. Be picky about which events you will speak at. Choose the events where you can do the most good and avoid events that cheapen your image.

Part 3: A Compelling Message. The leader's most important job is to motivate and inspire an audience toward a grand mission or vision, not to transfer facts and data.
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