Reviews Real Leaders Don’t Do PowerPoint
Reviews in Publications
In Witt’s succinct and humorous assessment of leadership strategies and the art of the public presentation, the business consultant focuses on the basics and the particulars that often go by the wayside when speakers rely on crutches like PowerPoint. A good speaker and leader knows that the individual is inseparable from his or her message, that ideas must be conveyed simply and powerfully, and that conviction is paramount to get others on board. Witt, founder and president of his own Witt Communications company, goes into great detail illustrating exactly what a successful speaker does and how those skills translate to good leadership. While Witt’s primer doesn’t say anything particularly new, it’s a fine demonstration of his principles at work: well-organized and straightforward, with plenty of concrete take-away techniques. Geared toward those looking to get a leg up at work, shape their ideas and overcome the public speaking jitters, Witt’s quick, witty instructional makes a fine addition to the office arsenal.
By gearing his expertise to leaders who must wean themselves from PowerPoint and similar business crutches, communications consultant Witt (with the help of Fetherling) has struck figurative gold. As organizational representatives, crisis managers, major influencers, and the source of inspiration, executives have no choice but to master presence. The four elements of Demosthenes’ great speeches act as a fulcrum: great person, noteworthy occasion, compelling message, and masterful delivery. And the author follows those points faithfully, presenting his case in short chapters, with plenty of well-recognized examples (Ronald Reagan, Martin Luther King Jr., and Sojourner Truth) and with easy-to-understand principles. On anyone’s list of favorites is learn how to chunk your content, show and tell, and deliver the real you. Although this won’t write your next speech, it will help you begin to incorporate powerful words married with the right kind of tone and body language.
As much as you might think that Real Leaders Don’t Do PowerPoint might be a screed against the obsequiousness of the Microsoft tool, based on frustration from sitting through too many presentations. It isn’t. It is a book on how people at all levels of business need to present themselves and their ideas better. In a very easy-to-read, well-written and organized book, Witt provides simple chapters organized in four main areas: A Great Person, A Noteworthy Event, A Compelling Message, and A Masterful Delivery. A Great Person is about how you are the message, how who you are influences the messages your audience hears. A Noteworthy Event is about how the event that you are speaking at needs to be successful; if it isn’t, no one is going to remember your part of it. A Compelling Message is about having one great idea per presentation, and A Masterful Delivery is about how to project yourself in the most efficient way possible. Real Leaders is a very effective book for anyone who has to present ideas to an audience, whether you are an experienced speaker or not.
Few skills are more important to entrepreneurs than the ability to sell ideas, whether to a spouse at the kitchen table or to a roomful of venture capitalists. In Real Leaders Don’t Do PowerPoint, Christopher Witt offers solid advice, emphasizing the importance of having a compelling message, making the whole event memorable and ensuring that you – the messenger – are credible.
Reviews in Blogs
“Great book. Should be mandatory reading for anyone who has to stand and deliver. ”
The book title says it all: Real Leaders Don’t Do PowerPoint. Published just this month, the new book will quickly makes its mark among the best leadership communication books. But don’t let the title fool you: this is more than a book about PowerPoint. By author and speech coach Chris Witt, it’s a total book about what leaders need to do to sell themselves and their ideas.
First, though, about PowerPoint and why Chris Witt rightly doesn’t trust it to do the job for real leaders. “In the first place,” he writes, “it is best suited for presenting information, not influencing or inspiring an audience.” And there in a nutshell is the entire argument.
Real leaders, Witt says, should only give three speeches:
- To identify — tell audiences who they are or who they can become
- To influence — shape the way audiences think and feel
- To inspire — make audiences want to act
Unfortunately, PowerPoint is only good for one thing: presenting information. He’s right. Anyone in the organization can present information. It’s the most basic type of speech. Yes, sometimes leaders do have to do these. In front of special audiences like financial analysts who thrive on detailed slides of graphs and charts.
But that part of a leader’s job is limited. They should aspire to more, an argument Witt makes convincingly for both the leader and leader-to-be.
“Remember,” Witt writes, “audiences don’t want leaders to speak like everyone else. They hold leaders to a higher standard, demanding more of them.”
But as I said, that’s a small part of the book. Don’t think this is a treatise against PowerPoint. It’s also a primer on how to construct and deliver a speech.
Witt covers everything from audience analysis to the importance of storytelling and from why structure is critical to how to handle the inevitable question and answer period.
Consider it a good addition to your bookshelf.