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Killer Presentation Skills: How to acquire "The Skills" and say goodbye to fear, sweat, and 'practice, practice, practice' Paperback – October 17, 2011
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About the Author
J. Douglas Jefferys began his platform-training career in 1981 with Commodore Business Machines. There, Doug was challenged to present what was then a hobbyist's concept - the PC - as a viable new consumer product. To best showcase features and functionality, Doug learned BASIC and built from scratch what is now acknowledged to be the first computer-based on-screen presentation. Years before Windows, Doug was helping to create the ground rules for successful computer-based presentation techniques. Today, in addition to training thousands of satisfied participants in proper public speaking skills, Doug continues to develop and edit dynamic on-screen presentations for top executives at many Fortune 500 companies. Doug’s previous work...And Your Point Is? - How to Stop Killing Your Clients with PowerPoint Poisoning, is an entertaining look at the state of business presentations today, and what you can do to improve the breed. It is also a great primer on one of Doug's passions, namely good design. Doug has also produced and stars in two popular DVD’s. Conquering Death by PowerPoint teaches the 7 Basic Rules of Visual Design, and demonstrates quite clearly how to craft slides that deliver your message the first time, unequivocally. And the Amazon.com Number 1 Best Seller on the topic, 90 Minutes to Killer Presentation Skills, is now in its Second Edition. The 7-minute YouTube trailer has been viewed over 1,500,000 times. Doug is a sometime contributor to the Wall Street Journal.
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Top customer reviews
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I think the author delivers a couple of good points and they are scattered throughout. So if you purchase this book, hang on till the end. Conversely, the author delivers too much analysis, for my taste, and that too is delivered throughout. I've never been a big fan of being told, by someone who doesn't know me, why I do or don't do something. In this case the reader's(me) Speaking behavior.
I've been reading about Speaking & Presentations for awhile now, and there wasn't much new here, but I did like some of his phrasing. In many cases that can make a book worth reading. At the end of the book the author asks the reader to write a review here at amazon if you can give it 4-5 stars.
I decided to pass on that offer, but when the amazon request appeared in my in-box I decided to share.
We call stage fright by various names--nerves, fear of performing, performance anxiety, glossophobia, social phobia. Choose your term. Whatever you call it, this is the "fight or flight" phenomenon. In sports we call it choking.
Part of what triggers this fearful reaction is "The stranger phenomenon". If you have any tendency toward being shy, when you meet new people, at some level, you are afraid of what "might happen". This can be a diffuse feeling, but it is uncomfortable. And it tenses you up.
The major mental and physical disruptions during fight or flight include increase in heart rate, muscle tension and rate of breathing. Time appears to speed up, and that is why many speakers fear pausing, because a short pause seems to them to be an eternity. The speaker's mind fills up with what they want to say over the long haul, and mental overload ensues.
All of these manifestations result in the speaker "getting lost in their thoughts" or in losing the all-important connection with the audience.
Lock, Talk and Pause is the title to chapter three. Here Doug describes the phenomenon of scanning and why it is a problem.
Many speakers are taught to scan their audience. But using the scanning method while speaking causes an information overload. It increases your mind's demand to process new visual information rapidly, while you are engaged in another task--speaking.
Doug correctly states that one major remedy to this is to stop scanning the audience, and to speak to one person at a time. This is a huge concept for speakers to understand. And it takes some time to achieve comfort with the silence. He tells us to stop multi-tasking while we speak and to make speaking a serial activity. Here's how I describe this performance issue to my clients.
Sport psychologist Dr. Robert Nideffer created an inventive and practical way to understand how the mind handles attention at any given moment. Your attention is always placed along two continuums simultaneously. These dimensions are internal to external and narrow to broad. Internal means you are concentrating inside yourself and external means you are concentrating outside yourself. Narrow means you are focusing on a small cue and broad means you are focusing on more than one cue at once. The four dimensions:
Your attention is like a camera lens. You can open the lens broadly and keep it fixed, or pan the camera across a broad scene. You also can also narrow the lens by zooming in, and either fix it on one shot, or pan it across many items. When a speaker goes "in their head" to recall content, or to focus on the fear of new faces that they scan (even if done unconsciously), this internal focus causes a loss of connection with the audience.
The remedy is to maintain narrow external focus as you speak, rather than broad external.
The Power of the Pause is the title to chapter four. Here he gives a very insightful explanation of how our audience's mind operates.
Doug emphasizes that the pause is the most critical aspect of good speaking. He says that your audience only starts listening when you stop talking. They don't hear WHAT is being said. They hear what WAS said. The pause gives them time to make sense of what you just said. This way they can "follow you".
Doug wisely reminds you that you don't speak to a group. You speak to a series of individuals in the group, so present your message to one person at a time.
Killer Presentation Skills helps us to be more audience-centric. And it helps us understand how the mind of our audience works. It also helps us to know how our own mind operates, and how to create a peak performance for both parties.
This superb book covers the techniques of speaking from many interesting and helpful angles. This book by Doug Jeffreys is a masterful work, one that all speakers need to read and savor. I highly recommend it to anyone who presents.
Bill Cole, MS, MA
CEO, William B. Cole Consultants
To that end I have devoured numerous books, podcasts and videos on this topic over the years and for my money "Killer Presentation Skills" by J. Douglas Jefferys is THE definitive text and instructional video.
We have all seen presenters that really stood out and left a lasting impression - that's why you can still remember them even now. But what was the anatomy of a strong delivery and more importantly can it be bottled? The answer is YES, it can and that is what KPS explains so eloquently.
I keep this text permanently on my Kindle and refer to it often for inspiration and to ensure I stay on my game.