For the many people who dread public speaking, Roth Fay’s concise debut is not just instructional, but reassuring.
A public speaking coach, Roth Fay lays out a well-structured, step-by-step plan for creating any type of presentation, covering the key parts—audience, message, and presenter—in text that is informal yet highly informative, using plenty of examples (both good and bad) and reinforcing her points with useful takeaways at the end of each chapter. The author stresses the importance of audience, preaching that presenters often spend virtually all of their time thinking about themselves when they should be attentive to those they’re instructing. Her “Audience Assessment Tool” provides critical questions to ask that should help any presenter more effectively concentrate on the needs of attendees. Likewise, she offers two authoritative chapters on the presentation itself, including tips on using bold, energetic words, how to structure a presentation, the value of storytelling, and essential rules for creating good visuals. Here, Roth Fay highlights many of the common mistakes that plague presenters; she humorously addresses “non-verbal distractors,” such as playing with a pen or eyeglasses, as well as “verbal audience distractors” of the “um” and “you know” variety. Some of her wise suggestions—“Don’t be guilty of focusing only on one or two audience members” and “Don’t be afraid to go out into the audience and get within touching distance”—are sure to resonate even with experienced presenters. As for anxiety, Roth Fay provides several calming suggestions, such as reducing one’s focus on the “initial physical reaction.” Two additional chapters regarding elevator pitches and job interviews demonstrate ways the author’s advice can be applied more broadly. The tone is easy and nonthreatening, and many helpful suggestions occur throughout.
Compassionate, positive encouragement for speakers who need to improve their games.