Real Leaders Don’t Do PowerPoint (Summary of the Book)
Business consultant and speech coach Christopher Witt shows why most presentations are a losing proposition…and what to do about it.
Think about the most powerful speech you’ve ever heard a leader give. What made that speech — and that speaker — memorable was likely a mix of authenticity, stage presence, masterful delivery, and — above all — an inspirational message.
Nobody ever walked out of a great speech saying, “I loved the way that speaker used PowerPoint.”
Yet all too often, leaders rely on PowerPoint and tools like it to carry them through a presentation — tools that lessen their impact.
As Chris Witt says, “Let’s call PowerPoint what it really is — corporate karaoke. We endure it even though it bores audiences, trivializes content, and pushes speakers to the side of the stage where they interact with their slides, not with the audience.” Real leaders want nothing to do with it.
Real leaders speak to make a difference, to promote a vision, to change the way people think and feel and act. Their ability to lead goes hand-in-hand with their ability to get their message across, no matter what size audience they’re addressing. You may not be in a position of authority, but you can learn how to sell yourself and your ideas by mastering the strategies, skills, and techniques that great leaders use.
Drawing on his years of experience as an executive speech coach and professional speaker, Chris Witt provides practical advice on how to take your game to the next level, including:
- Influence and inspire. People don’t need more information — at least not from their leaders. Give them instead a way of understanding what they already know, and give them hope that they can do something worthwhile.
- You are the message. Who you are — your character, experience, values — shapes the message your listeners hear.
- Content is king. Delivery is important, but it is only the helpful — or unhelpful — servant on your message. So build each speech around one, and only one, “Big Idea.”
- A confused mind always says no. Your listeners will only say “yes” — to your proposal, initiative, direction, or vision — when they understand what you advocate and why they should care.
- Dare to do the unexpected. Leaders know the rules, and they know when, why, and how to break them.
In chapters that can be read in five minutes or less and in a book that can be read in one sitting, Witt shows leaders and aspiring leaders how to become more confident, more commanding, more compelling speakers. But this isn’t just a book about speaking. It’s about leadership and about how people — CEOs and PTA presidents, small business owners and sales reps, middle managers and techno geeks — can present themselves and their ideas with greater impact.