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Worth a read: Real leaders don’t do PowerPoint

About halfway thru Real Leaders Don't Do Powerpoint by Christopher Witt.

Great book. Should be mandatory reading for anyone who has to stand and deliver. A few key points:

4 elements of a great speech:

  • A great person

  • A noteworthy event

  • A compelling message

  • A masterful delivery


Leaders speak for only one of 3 reasons:

  • To identify — tell the audience who they are or who they can become

  • To influence — shape the way audiences think and feel

  • To inspire — make audiences want to act

Take one of 3 stands in your speech:

  • Stand with

  • Stand for

  • Stand against

Deliver just one big idea in your speech. And keep it under 20 minutes. Wrap it up before your audience mentally checks out.

Bad speeches commit one or more of the following sins:

  • Small ideas and big words

  • Information instead of ideas

  • Too many ideas

How not to start a speech:

  • With a joke

  • With pleasantries (I'm so happy to be here today with such wonderful people)

  • With an apology (not a good public speaker, not well prepared)

Instead, start your speech:

  • With a personal story

  • A provocative question

  • A startling fact

  • A bold assertion

  • Penetrating quote

  • Reference to a current event

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Jay,
    Thanks for the kind words about my book. I hope it doesn’t come across as a diatribe against PowerPoint. Half my clients — technical experts — use it, and it’s my job to help them use it well.
    My other clients are business and community leaders, and I try to get them to avoid using it or at least to minimize their use of it.
    To my way of thinking, leaders don’t want to be upstaged by anything, especially not by slides that are all too often boring and confusing. A leader wants people’s eyes and ears fixed on them.
    Thanks again.

    March 25, 2009

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