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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How to give a gripping presentation
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...
Published on January 12, 2012 by John Gibbs

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Quite as Profound as Advertised, Mildly Useful
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...
Published 19 months ago by Matt G


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How to give a gripping presentation, January 12, 2012
By 
John Gibbs (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
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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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Quite as Profound as Advertised, Mildly Useful, February 2, 2013
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This review is from: The Art of the Pitch: Persuasion and Presentation Skills that Win Business (Hardcover)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth more than you'll pay for it, February 1, 2012
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This review is from: The Art of the Pitch: Persuasion and Presentation Skills that Win Business (Hardcover)
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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive How-To Presentations Guide, February 2, 2012
This review is from: The Art of the Pitch: Persuasion and Presentation Skills that Win Business (Hardcover)
As a speechwriter and presentation developer for many years, I didn't think I needed any help for improving what I wrote. Boy, was I wrong. Mr. Coughter does an outstanding job offering some valuable tips and suggestions for delivery a stellar presentation. I get it now.

I was humbled. I realized that though I may know the basics and can put together a pretty decent presentation, throughout this book, one message came through loud and clear: simplicity in both your message and slides. It was extremely helpful that he illustrated his points by using real life examples. Great examples, by the way. This is invaluable reference book; one that you will want right to keep next to your computer.

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. Just go and read it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything is a presentation, June 29, 2013
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"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
6. Teamwork counts
7. Make it personal
8. Know your audience
9. Show no fear
10. Rehearse
11. Know why you're there

I know - nothing profound, we know this. Question is how many of us do it? "The Art of the Pitch" fleshes out those 11 points and was written by a guy who depended upon pitches for his livelihood. I learned something on every page and am a much better presenter based on this book. One of the best on the subject.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An eye-opening book for any professional, June 18, 2013
This review is from: The Art of the Pitch: Persuasion and Presentation Skills that Win Business (Hardcover)
I bought this book and have read it 3 times already. It is amazing. Peter is an experienced professional who knows the winning solutions to effective presentation skills. This has changed the way I view presentations and has help me tremendously at work. I rate it 5 stars because I haven't read a better book in this area!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Effective presentations beat boring, illegible powerpoint shows, February 11, 2013
This review is from: The Art of the Pitch: Persuasion and Presentation Skills that Win Business (Hardcover)
This book illuminates the fact that most presenters have some weaknesses in their presentations. This actually makes sense, because nobody spends much time going to "presentation" school- I suppose it's not surprising that most of us aren't very good at it. We transmit data alone, and fail to frame it with emotion.

If you want to improve your presentation style, or understand the underlying dynamics involved, this book is well worth the read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read for Anyone Selling Anything (which is everyone), April 1, 2012
This review is from: The Art of the Pitch: Persuasion and Presentation Skills that Win Business (Hardcover)
I have attended a multitude of trainings and workshops covering the subject of improving presentation skills throughout business school and during my career in sales. Before I read this book I thought I knew most everything there was to know about presenting well and I was reluctant to read another book that I thought would offer little in the way of new subject matter.

Coughter does offer the same best practice concepts as the other presentation experts, but he does it so uniquely that it is as if you are learning about them for the first time. His book embodies exactly what he preaches...present in such a way that it appears you offer something superior even if your idea is the same as your colleague. He provides a great example of an agency who had two teams present the same solution to a client but one team's delivery was so much better that the client didn't make the connection.

My favorite line in the book is "be yourself, everyone else is taken". Seems like common sense but very few people act like themselves during a presentation. Coughter says that trying to be professional actually makes us appear less genuine because we are trying to be someone other than ourselves. It is amazing how many engaging and confident people lose their best qualities once they are placed in a formal presentation setting.

Cougher's advice is simple but it takes hard work and courage to put into practice. I continually refer to the book for new ideas and inspiration prior to every client/prospect engagement, and I have no doubt that I will continue to do the same now that I have vowed never to give another mediocre power point presentation!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The only book for presentation techniques that you will ever need, March 6, 2012
This review is from: The Art of the Pitch: Persuasion and Presentation Skills that Win Business (Hardcover)
It is no secret that the most confidant people have a larger sphere of influence than the rest of us. With the techniques in this book, you'll no longer have to psych yourself up to give a presentation or "fake it". You'll be honestly confidant in the presentation you're about to deliver because you'll know what you're about to say is exactly what needs to be said, with the perfect timing, tone, level of information & visual accompaniment. If selling your work matters, you can't afford to not read this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great engaging read, February 28, 2014
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This review is from: The Art of the Pitch: Persuasion and Presentation Skills that Win Business (Hardcover)
Peter Coughter's Art of the Pitch is a great marketing read. In the book, Coughter explains the importance of presentations and gives tips about what to do and what not to do so that the reader can improve their own pitching skills. He has taught many seminars on the topic and has many personal experiences in this area, making him a credible source on the subject. 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. This personal approach made it a fun read and not textbook like.
Coughter breaks down `the pitch' or presentations into several points: everything is a presentation, it's not about you, how to connect with the audience, the power of emotion, how you should be and act, the authenticity of your presentation, do not let the deck drag you down, how to organize the presentation, rehearse, and be punctual. A chapter is dedicated to each one of these, and he gives at least three examples for each one to reassure the reader that these pointers have been applied and worked.
The examples used are mostly anecdotal. He uses stories and quotes from well-known businessmen and women but tends to pull from his own life experiences. The one example mentioned on several occasions was when he was sent to Japan to teach non-English speaking executives how to improve their pitching skills. One of the times he used this example was when he was discussing white space on the visual slides during the presentation. He stated that he could only get his idea across to the Dentsu executives by relating it to Hara hachi bu which roughly translates to "eat until you are 80 percent full." One the Japanese executives understood this creative analogy and applied it, they improved their presentations. This type of story exemplifies the other examples he used throughout the book to explain and show his main points. His arguments and examples are fun and inspiring and he skillfully combines them with his vast amount of experience, easily persuading reader to believe his tips will be helpful to them as well.
The objective of this book is to extend the author's knowledge of making the perfect pitch to the reader with the hopes that they can take away at least one point he makes and apply it to their own lives. In my opinion, this book achieves this because it has inspired me to improve on my own pitching skills and I have been trying to apply his tips to my presentations since I read this book.
While this book is focused on pitching business ideas, the content is also broad enough for it to be relevant to students and employees in almost every field because a majority of students and workers have to make a presentation at some point in their lives. While reading the book I found that I should improve my skills at presenting because I was making many of the mistakes he was telling the reader to avoid. Looking back at my education I realized that I was never exactly taught how to make and present a successful presentation, which is a crucial skill throughout schooling and in the real world. Most of my peers have the same issue, sometimes even more so. I have sat through countless presentations where the visuals are PowerPoints filled to their edges with words and my classmates stand there reading the slides to the class. Afterwards they cannot seem to understand why the professor has graded them so poorly. I believe having students read or a professor teach the ideas in Art of the Pitch would greatly benefit the students because learning to present well is one of the most forgotten about life skills. Schooling is about preparing students for their future, and when pitching ideas is just as important as the ideas themselves, it is important to teach them that skill as well instead of glazing over it.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed reading this engaging book and I'm glad that I chose to read it. As I mentioned, I recommend it to students, but also to anyone who has to make any sort of presentation because it is inspiring and it contains the right tips and approach to help you succeed in your next pitch or interview.
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The Art of the Pitch: Persuasion and Presentation Skills that Win Business
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