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Presenting to Win

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Presenting to Win

The Art of Telling Your Story

FT Prentice Hall,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

When you tell your story, focus on what you want your audience to do, and why. Show how they benefit to get your way.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable


The lessons in this excellent book should be studied and applied by everyone who has to give presentations. In terms of audience connection and persuasive technique, Abe Lincoln must have known everything here (except, perhaps, the details of PowerPoint). And that’s good, because you don’t need anything new or fancy to give a great presentation, you just need a message and clear instructions on how to deliver it - so, here they are. The book is cleanly written with pop-out boxes, sample graphics and corporate examples. Anyone who ignores its powerful basic rules will fail at presenting. Failure means boring the audience and leaving them unconvinced and unwilling to hear more. This is your cure for those blues. The book’s flaw is the author’s tedious self-promotion, but he’s a former TV guy, so what the heck do you expect? The bottom line, getAbstract attests, is that what he says, you need to know.


The Audience

Most presentations fail because they are guilty of the "Five Cardinal Sins" of presenting: they are pointless, irrelevant to the audience, confusing, complicated and long. Since the goal of a presentation is to persuade - to move the audience from A to B - you must be persuasive, and make your point clear and relevant. You don’t want only the audience’s understanding - you want them to take some action. That’s the point. State the action you want the audience to take. Most presenters fail to make that point clearly.

Persuade them to act by telling them, not what the action will do for you, but what it will do for them. Sell the benefits. Never mention a feature (a quality or characteristic about your company, product or service) without underscoring the benefit. Make everything you say relevant to your audience. Understand what your listeners need. Ask, "What’s in it for you?" (WIIFY), and then answer the question.

Don’t assume your audience will know why your thick product catalog matters to them. Remember that it may be important to different people for different reasons. A purchasing agent will want to know about your products; an investment analyst...

About the Author

Jerry Weissman has coached the top brass at Yahoo!, Compaq, Intel, Intuit, Cisco Systems, Microsoft and almost 400 other client firms about how to do important business presentations and road shows that have raised billions in the stock market. He is a former news and public affairs producer for CBS Television.

Comment on this summary

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    E. R. getAbstract 1 decade ago
    Hi David - We will take another look at this abstract with your feedback in mind. Meanwhile, you might enjoy our other summary of a Jerry Weissman book, "The Power Presenter." Thanks for your note, E. Rauzin, Managing Editor, getAbstract
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    D. C. 1 decade ago
    The summary really overlooks the author's key point: that getting your STORY clear is about 80% of success. Without a story any presentation will fail. Jerry spends a good deal of time and effort to hammer home this point...but this review has somehow missed that.

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