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What's Your Presentation Persona? Discover Your Unique Communication Style and Succeed in Any Arena (Business Books) Hardcover – February 17, 2017
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From the Back Cover
“We live in a golden age of public speaking. The thing is, most speeches are delivered to small groups, and they are known as presentations or sales pitches. Scott Schwertly, founder and CEO of Ethos3, a presentation design and training boutique in Nashville, Tennessee, offers a proprietary test to determine each individual’s strengths. By classifying you in one of several categories, from scholar to scientist to entertainer, Schwertly promises to hone your presentation skills. You can even become a well-rounded presenter by trying other personas.”
About the Author
Scott Schwertly is the CEO of Ethos3, an award-winning presentation design and training company with national and international clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to influencers such as Guy Kawasaki. It has served almost 600 clients in 20 countries and has designed more than 1,300 presentations.
Sunday Avery is the former content strategist at Ethos3, with many years of presentation-writing experience. She works with some of the world’s biggest brands.
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Top Customer Reviews
An unexpected benefit is that the authors parade so many useful principles drawn from other books and from many disciplines. This makes the book an engaging introduction to the study of presentations generally. For frequent readers of books on speaking, it is a useful check of your portfolio.
One tip on reading this book. The personality work applies the popular four-criteria system, so there are sixteen personality types, described in Chapters 2-17. Many readers will be familiar with this approach. But if starting down the road to review so many different types gives you pause, the Chapters can be read in a revised order: first take the brief online test to type yourself; then read the Introduction and Chapter 1; then read the Chapter about your own specific personality type; then read the in-depth review of the four criteria (Chapters 18-23); and finally go back to Chapters 2-17 and read about all of the sixteen types. By then, even if you are new to this sort of analysis, you will have ample context to make the Chapters on the sixteen types very fast and engaging reads. You will see yourself and your friends and colleagues along the way.
However you go about reading it, the book efficiently strings many specific insights along well-managed thematic routes. I have read the other leading works in this area and this book still uniquely improved my understanding of myself as a speaker and also as a member of an audience.
My job requires me to give often-challenging presentations. The challenge comes from presenting financial information to stakeholders who do not have the same background I have, so I need to present it in terms that are approachable to the audience. I've found a happy medium that works, but I always wondered if there was a way I could improve. Not to put too fine a point on it, but this book showed me a way forward.
I started with the self-assessment test, and that did pose a challenge. We all have a particular self-image, and often the hardest thing we can do is take a sober look at our strengths and, more importantly, our *weaknesses* to get a valid picture of who we really are. Simple advice here is to be as brutally honest as you can....you do yourself (and your audience) no favors if you pull punches.
After the self-assessment you can now identify with one of the personas listed in the book. I'll spare you what my persona is, but suffice it to say it gave me fresh insight into myself and how I could better leverage my strengths while minimizing my weaknesses. Using that knowledge I was able to tailor my presentations and make them more effective. In particular, I decided that I was getting too in the weeds on the data for an audience that didn't care about those weeds...so I stepped the presentation away from details and more into goals. It was difficult making that change, but just last week I delivered the new improved package and it went over much better. It turned from "you have to get this metric down" to "our company's goal is to do x, and we are falling short...here are some options to get back on track." It made me a more effective and credible business partner, not just some guy reading off numbers.
The writing style of the book is nice and approachable. It's not typical dry business-tome stuff. In fact, I started thinking of it as part business, part self-help book, because I gained valuable insights into myself in the process of following the method here.
Again, it's a valuable book, and something that I really got a lot out of. I think it's great.
I do have the problem with these tests since they assume you're honest with the answers - or at least self-aware enough with your answers. I thought about it later and there were a couple questions I think I answered with wishful thinking, more than reality...but I think I did a good job.
Then it tells you what the 'presentation persona' is like, and gently describes the flaws. I actually wish it was more pointed in the critiques. The personas are described from a positive slant, but I would prefer a guide that told me what the problems were (at least with the theoretical persona) so I could do more about it. There is SOME of that, just not enough.
The book describes other personas, and if you wanted to change identities, there's a roadmap for what to shoot for - so if you want to be a different persona, than behave like it describes.
I think it's a neat book, and it's always interesting to assess ourselves from afar and see what we might look like to an outside audience. I teach in college and so I'm presenting all the time - it's good to get a little feedback for WHAT I'm trying to do, and how I might look like when I'm 'presenting.'
Overall, interesting - and for anybody looking for an outside assessment will be intrigued.