Allison M. Shapira

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Art of the Start

Moving right along down my holiday reading list, I just finished The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki.

It's an excellent read for many different reasons, not the least of which are the wit and wisdom of the author, who writes in such an engaging style that I was able to read the book in just a few days.

But I'd like to focus on one specific chapter that was relevant to public speaking:

The Art of Pitching

While Guy is mainly talking about how to pitch to venture capitalists, his points are transferable to many types of presentations. Some of his main points are:
  • 10/20/30 - Ten slides, Twenty minutes, 30-point font as a rule of thumb for presentations. This makes sure you don't overload your audience with long presentations that have too many slides that are too hard to read.
  • Make your points relevant to your audience by adding real-world examples or stories.
  • Know your audience in advance and cater your presentation to them.
  • Practice your presentation a minimum of 25 times so you become comfortable with it. He says, "There are no shortcuts to achieving familiarity."
Guy included had some great guidelines for using PowerPoint, including "animate your body, not your slides."

There were also a few pages in the book dedicated to public speaking itself. Again, he had some very relevant suggestions beyond the normal "make eye contact, use body language" which are important but not the only points. For instance:
  • Say something interesting
  • Meet the crowd before the speech (so you see familiar faces in the audience)
  • Ask for a small room (instead of a large room that might not fill up)
  • Practice. He rewords something I repeat often during my lectures to highlight the importance of practice. He says, "Ironically, the more you practice, the more you'll sound spontaneous."
An excellent book that has much to offer individuals from all fields. I highly recommend it.


Anonymous Dharmesh said...

We're big fans of "Art Of The Start" too at HubSpot.

Thanks for the concise summary of an important part of the book. Bookmarked for future reference.

11:59 AM  
Blogger Alli said...

Thanks, Dharmesh. The book was recommended to me by someone you might know...

12:31 PM  
Blogger TJ Walker--The Speaking Channel said...

Guy is indeed an excellent speaker. I would reccomend that you experience him by watching any of his videos on youtube.

10:01 PM  
Blogger Alli said...

Thanks for the suggestion, TJ. I'll take a look on YouTube.

Great websites, BTW. I'd like to spend some more time on the Speaking Channel.

3:24 PM  

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