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The Art of the Pitch: Persuasion and Presentation Skills that Win Business Hardcover – January 3, 2012

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; 1 edition (January 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230120512
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230120518
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"What you'll love about this work is the total freshness it brings to presentations. From the very first chapter, Coughter redefines the challenge, resets the approach and shares invaluable tales from the front lines that will make you ache for a chance to get back in the game." - Dan Wieden, President, Wieden & Kennedy

"So you've spent hours, days, and weekends working on your next big idea? Well, all your work may count for diddly squat if you can't sell it. That's where Coughter's book can help. It's like getting one of his valuable Workshops in book form." - Luke Sullivan, Chair, Advertising Department, Savannah College of Art & Design and author of Hey Whipple, Squeeze This

'This book is full of stories from great presenters. I know many of them. Three are on my list of the top people I've ever heard present. Peter Coughter is the best of them. Every creative person, every account person, every client, every Marketer everywhere should read this book. It is essential to selling your ideas.' - Pam El, VP, Marketing, State Farm

'Peter Coughter is not only a master of the pitch, he's an outstanding teacher. Read what he writes, and then read it again. This book is a gem.' - John Adams, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, The Martin Agency

About the Author

Peter Coughter is a Professor at the prestigious VCU Brandcenter at Virginia Commonwealth University and President of Coughter & Company whichconsults with leading advertising agencies around the world.His clients include: Crispin Porter + Bogusky, DDB, Cramer-Krasselt, Dentsu, GSD&M, Goodby Silverstein, JWT, Leo Burnett, Publicis, Y&R McKinney and many others. Peter was a Founder and President of Siddall, Matus & Coughter, one of the Southeast’s most respected agencies. He lives in Richmond, Virginia.

Customer Reviews

Peter is an experienced professional who knows the winning solutions to effective presentation skills.
Don McLean
I highly recommend this book for both the veteran speechwriter, as well as individuals looking to develop their first presentation, and for everyone else in between.
Debbie Girard
Every point made in the book is supported with multiple examples and is written clearly and casually so it is easy to understand and then apply to your own skills.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By John Gibbs TOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 12, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great presenters realize that people make decisions emotionally; they will rationalize decisions based on all the facts and figures, using the objective to help them justify the decisions they made subjectively, according to Peter Coughter in this book. It is critical to make the audience feel that what you are suggesting is the best thing for them.

According to the author, the elements of an effective presentation include:

* It's a conversation, only you're doing most of the talking.
* Be yourself: what audiences want is authenticity.
* Tell stories: we all love stories that grab our attention and hold it all the way to the end.
* Know your stuff: don't memorize the presentation, but know the underlying ideas thoroughly.
* Relax and be personable: it's the audience that really counts, so don't worry about yourself.
* Teamwork counts: in great presentations, teams present as if they really like one another.
* Make it personal: a level of intimacy builds credibility and makes a connection.

The book is written from the perspective of an advertising agency executive, but the principles described are applicable to the marketing of any professional services, or more broadly to any form of public speaking or private presentation. In accordance with his own advice, the author provides numerous engaging stories of business won through persuasive presentations, and the book includes brief insights from a number of experienced presenters.

Many of the key points are reinforced by being repeated several times in the book. There is detailed advice on how to organize a presentation, how to use PowerPoint-type slides if they are suitable for your type of presentation, the importance of extensive rehearsal, and the effective use of silence, volume, pitch, tone of voice, facial expressions and other forms of "punctuation". Anyone who wants to become a better presenter is likely to find some useful tips in this book.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Matt G on February 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I can narrow down the perfect market for this book really easily: you are working for an agency that relies on presentations to win business and you have a trip coming up that gives you some downtime to read a book on the plane. Or, maybe your a student in some type of PR or creative field and you like reading during lunch, or before you go to bed. This won't really change your life.

This book has some useful anecdotes, but boy, there is a bad signal to noise ratio unless you are very casually reading this and have time on your hands (and no other books awaiting your attention!). The description does imply this is from an ad agencies point of view, but it also says that the book is applicable to selling anything- I am not sure it can go that far. I found some good pointers in here, but they could have been summed up a lot quicker. The stories are applicable to an ad agency, but don't speak to elevator pitches, entrepreneurs at trade shows, or any type of off-the-cuff selling that is more typical in the real world.

Finally, I found it particularly tacky that I read the same line in the front of the book as I did in sections following it. It was like the introduction was a copy and paste job from the other sections! If you give a lot of powerpoint presentations, give it a whirl, otherwise just go read Dale Carnegie again and again and again.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Julian Tippins on February 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There's no gimmicky self-help advice in this book. Peter Coughter is not trying to give the reader tricks to become a better presenter. At no point does he suggest that you stand like a pirate, picture the audience naked, or channel your spirit animal. He simply presents the tools to become a great presenter.

Some thoughts on the book:
Much of his advice is surprisingly simple. But, for some reason, almost no one does the things recommended in this book.

The anecdotes from Advertising/Marketing professionals that are scattered within the book are interesting. It's especially fun to hear about the presentations that went wrong.

Coughter isn't contrarian just to be contrarian, but he does disagree with conventional wisdom sometimes. He also isn't afraid to admit that some presenting cliches are spot on.

The book's not theory. It's all practical solutions based on real life experience. That's what makes it so valuable.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Russ Emrick VINE VOICE on June 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"The Art of the Pitch" says that everything is a presentation - that we're always being viewed and judged. Whether we're simply talking to our boss or speaking before a huge crowd the fundamentals of pitching apply.

I think this is one of the best books on presentations. Why? Because so many other books offer complex advice that the average presenter simply can't do. Everything from how to move, how to breath, how to act. You have to have two minds to do any of it - one to remember what you're supposed to do and the other to actually speak. It's like juggling multiple balls and deciding you need to brush your teeth at the same time. Impossible.

"The Art of the Pitch" offers simple help on presentations, excellent advice for everyone. Perhaps it seems too simple but that is why this material is so outstanding. We simply have to remember what we already know. For example: know your audience, it's not what you say or they remember but how they leave feeling about you, what you omit is as important than what you leave in, involve your audiance - make the presentation a dance.

Here is some pithy advice: "presentation is a skill but instead of improving it by formulas or techniques [which come off as false to your audience] be yourself and learn to draw out your natural abilities."

"Presentations are not public speaking...The trick is to understand that you are simply talking with your audience, sharing your thoughts. You’re not arguing. You’re not selling. You’re having a conversation. You’re giving them a gift."

Key principles include:
1. It's a conversation only you're doing most of the talking
2. Be yourself
3. Tell stories
4. Know your stuff
5. Relax and be personable
Read more ›
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