- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; 2012 edition (January 12, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0230120512
- ISBN-13: 978-0230120518
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 53 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #127,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Art of the Pitch: Persuasion and Presentation Skills that Win Business 2012th Edition
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Praise for Peter's Seminar Presentation Skills Workshops:
'Peter has been a tremendous asset in coaching our guys on every aspect of Presentation. He's helped build up their experience, and most importantly, their confidence.' - Tony Granger, Global Chief Creative Officer, Y&R
'We have had over 100 of our senior and mid-level people go through Coughter's workshops. The results have been impressive. Rarely do we now prepare for a presentation without someone saying, 'Have we Coughter'd it?' That is the best endorsement of all in terms of the impact he has had with our company.' - Peter G. Krivkovich, President & CEO, Cramer-Krasselt
'Peter is a teacher, leader and a Zen master.' -John Adams, Chairman The Martin Agency
About the Author
Peter Coughter is a professor at VCU Brandcenter at Virginia Commonwealth University and president of Coughter & Company, which consults with leading advertising agencies around the world. His clients include: Crispin Porter + Bogusky, DDB, Cramer-Krasselt, Dentsu, GSD&M, Goodby Silverstein, JWT, Leo Burnett, Publicist, Y&R, McKinney and many others. He lives in Richmond, Virginia.
Top customer reviews
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.
Coughter effectively supports his arguments throughout the book, using stories from friends and colleagues of his to demonstrate the power of his arguments in practice. For example, on page 120 Coughter puts in a story from Alex Bogusky, former chief creative officer and co-founder of CP+B, who talks about a presentation he had to give where his people loaded the wrong tape for the presentation. Instead of panicking and freezing on stage, Bogusky turned this around into a positive and was open with his audience, saying that the tape they saw was not the correct one. He then acted out the correct tape on his own and connected with the audience even more because of how real the presentation had become and how he was honest and authentic with them. Coughter includes this story because it shows the power of being an authentic, original individual in presentations and it shows how far the ability to adapt to the unexpected can go. In addition to these borrowed anecdotes, Coughter put in a set of statistics about what people take away from presentations. These statistics came from a study by Professor Albert Mehrabian in the 1960s, which “suggested that 55 percent of what we take away from communication comes from the visual, 38 percent from the tone of voice, and 7 percent from the actual words,” (Coughter 52). Coughter decided to put in these results because they show that presentations should be given passionately and enthusiastically so the audience remembers feeling excited during the presentation so if they don’t remember some important content, they at least remember how the content made them feel. These two examples show the types of support that Coughter gave his readers to prove to them his ideas are effective.
In addition to supporting his arguments through anecdotes from successful others and statistics, Coughter includes stories of himself and his own students who put his teachings to work and got real results in order to show the success of his methods. One example he used was of a group of DC clients who gave Coughter and his partners a chance to win their business. These clients did not want to work with anyone based outside of Washington DC, Coughter’s agency, which was based in Richmond, was already at a disadvantage. However, Coughter learned everything he could about these clients and themed his presentation in a way that would keep them interested and involved. Coughter claims, “It all happened because we thought to ask, ‘Please tell us everything you can about these people,’” which allowed them to get to know their audience before they created the presentation.
Another example that Coughter writes about is a group of students he taught who were told to present the same campaign to two different boards, in different ways. The first board was shown the campaign without any excitement or effort in presentation, and they dismissed it without any interest. When the students showed the second board their campaign, they presented it with enthusiasm and conviction. The second board members loved the campaign, which was the exact same campaign the other board did not care for. Coughter uses this story to show how important communicating excitement for a campaign is when trying to sell the idea.
Coughter is very successful with his arguments and teachings in The Art of the Pitch. It was interesting how he wrote the book in such a way that sounded as if he was giving a presentation to the reader, rather than actually reading a book. This style made the entire book support for Coughter’s arguments about how to become a better presenter by putting all of his ideas into practice in the writing of his book. Coughter’s writing also made the book very interactive, relatable, and enjoyable through his humor and anecdotes. Overall, Coughter succeeded in selling his point of view and communicating that view to the reader while teaching them about how to improve their ability to give presentations.
The examples of what makes an effective presenter, communicator, and influencer extend beyond the business world. Coughter draws on experiences from his own presentations as well as experiences from peers to deliver actionable insights for how to become a better communicator (and presenter).
Working in an industry where giving presentations to CEOs and other high-level personnel is a daily occurrence, this book has given tremendous value to the way I approach presentations. While there are numerous pieces of advice that were new to me, this also helped reinforce some of the basic principles I've relied upon in the past.
I recommend this book to anyone interested in improving their communication skills, regardless of their industry (of course, being in the world of marketing makes the author's past experiences that much more engaging and relatable).
Most recent customer reviews
Re-read this book twice and practice its teachings daily for best results.