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Stellar Presentations: An Entrepreneur's Guide to Giving Great Talks

Originally published in Technical Communication, Vol. 60, No. 1

Shel Israel. 2012. CreateSpace. [ISBN 978-1-4700-0819-2. 76 pages. US$9.99 (softcover).]

Stellar Presentations -- Review by Barbara JungwirthThis slim volume is geared towards technology entrepreneurs who are trying to sell an audience a product or service. Its four sections cover preparation and delivery of the speech, as well as tips for specific potential problems and a brief chapter exhorting presenters to have fun.

Shel Israel's advice:

  • Determine the expected audience, the precise idea/product/service you are trying to sell to this audience, and the desired outcome of the presentation before you write your speech
  • Learn from other speakers
  • Practice, practice, practice
  • Focus on one main point - a "positioning statement"
  • Tell stories instead of-or at least in addition to-using PowerPoint slides
  • Start with your strongest benefit
  • Focus the speech on the product (or service), not yourself and have backup plans for demo mishaps
  • Keep it simple-no more than 3 main points, which are repeated in the introduction and summary
  • Be yourself
  • Show your passion (for the product/service, not your partner!)
  • Use personal pronouns rather than abstract speech

Stellar Presentations draws heavily on both the author's and other speakers' experiences, with anecdotes illustrating the various points sprinkled liberally throughout the text. While many of these anecdotes are amusing, the actual advice offered is fairly basic. On the other hand, "techies" who must become salespeople to get funding or otherwise sell their idea may find such information helpful.

Barbara Jungwirth
Barbara Jungwirth, an STC Senior Member, owns reliable translations llc (www.reliable-translations.com) where she translates technical documents from German to English and codes for an HIV Web site. She also writes a blog, On Language and Translation (http://reliable-translations.com/blog) and posts updates on Twitter (@reliabletran).