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Truth About Confident Presenting, The

By James O'Rourke

Published by FT Press

Published Date: Feb 20, 2008


Praise for The Truth About Confident Presenting


"O'Rourke goes beyond the typical list of speaking tips and packs a lot of wisdom into his 51 truths. He explains the critical link between the content of a speech and its ultimate effectiveness, illuminating the powerful connection between preparation and performance. Speakers who follow his winning formula are sure to find a grateful audience."

R. Jeep Bryant, Executive Vice President, Chief Communications Officer, The Bank of New York Mellon


"From strategy to tactics, the 51 common-sense 'truths' in this book are useful, practical, and easy to adapt. Even reading just a few chapters will help to make you a better speaker. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to the executive speakers I work with."

Jan Botz, Executive Director, Chief Communications Officer, Dow Corning Corporation


“Whether you are speaking to a large audience, your boss, your employees, or your kids, you will feel more confident and prepared, and be far more effective, after reading this book. O’Rourke provides simple, doable tips that really make a difference. From caring to preparing, you’ll learn what it takes to engage your audience and make your message count!"

Patty Blackburn, Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, RSM McGladrey, Inc.


The Truth About Confident Presenting is an excellent, practical guide for anyone who aspires to deliver effective and engaging presentations. It is a valuable resource for the novice as well as veteran speakers.”

Catherine V. Babington, Vice President, Public Affairs, Abbott Laboratories


“Years of successful presentation experience condensed into an easily digestible but invaluable checklist for anyone wishing to channel natural anxiety over public speaking into improving their presentation skills. Filled with real-world examples and anecdotes, O’Rourke focuses on the essentials of great presenting.”

Tim Andree, Chief Executive Officer, Dentsu America


All you need to know to make winning presentations--fearlessly and painlessly

•        The truth about preparing quickly, efficiently, and well

•        The truth about managing anxiety and handling hostile audiences

•        The truth about nonverbal signals, PowerPoint, microphones, and more


This book reveals 51 proven and bite-size, easy-to-use presenting techniques that work.


This book brings together everything you need to know to prepare well, manage anxiety, deliver effectively, connect with your audience, and succeed! Authored by top business consultant James O’Rourke, this book offers real solutions for the obstacles and fears faced by every presenter. You'll discover what makes people listen, and what instantly turns them off. You’ll learn how to prepare effectively, not obsessively; how to scope out your audience and muster evidence that'll convince them; when and how to listen; how to manage anxiety and establish a great first impression; how to make nonverbal cues work for you; how to use PowerPoint well; how to handle hostile questions confidently; and much more.


This isn't someone's opinion: it's a definitive guide to effective presenting–a set of bedrock principles you can rely on to help you win with any audience.

Table of Contents

                     Introduction  v

Part I            Some Initial Truths

Truth 1          Public speaking is not easy, but it’s certainly doable  1

Truth 2          The key to success is preparation  5

Truth 3          Rehearsal is essential  9

Truth 4          Emulating good speakers will make you better  13

Truth 5          Establish goals for your presentation  17

Truth 6          A presentation is a learning occasion  21


Part II           The Truth About Getting Ready to Speak

Truth 7          Talk is the work  25

Truth 8          Know what your audience is looking for  29

Truth 9          There is a difference between speaking and writing  33

Truth 10        Preparing a presentation is a relatively simple process  37

Truth 11        Begin by analyzing your audience  41

Truth 12        Know about your audience  45


Part III          The Truth About What Makes People Listen

Truth 13        Understand what makes people listen  49

Truth 14        Your speaking style makes a difference  53

Truth 15        Anticipate the questions your audience brings to your presentation  57

Truth 16        Listening matters  61

Truth 17        Being an active listener brings real benefits  65

Truth 18        You can overcome the barriers to successful communication  69


Part IV          The Truth About Developing Support for Your Presentation

Truth 19        Develop support for your presentation  73

Truth 20        Understand the power of your content  77

Truth 21        The kinds and quality of evidence matter to your audience  81

Truth 22        Structure can help carry an inexperienced speaker  85

Truth 23        Find support for your presentation  89

Truth 24        Use the Internet to support your presentation  93


Part V           The Truth About Getting Up to Speak

Truth 25        Select a delivery approach  97

Truth 26        Your introduction forms their first impression  101

Truth 27        Begin with a purpose in mind  105

Truth 28        Keep your audience interested  109

Truth 29        Conclusions are as important as introductions  113

Truth 30        Have confidence in your preparation  117

Truth 31        Repeat the process as often as possible  121


Part VI          The Truth About Managing Anxiety

Truth 32        All speakers get nervous  125

Truth 33        Recognize anxiety before it begins  129

Truth 34        Deal with nervous behaviors  133

Truth 35        Keep your nervousness to yourself  137


Part VII         The Truth About Nonverbal Communication

Truth 36        Most information is transferred nonverbally  141

Truth 37        The nonverbal process can work for you  145

Truth 38        Nonverbal communication has specific functions  149

Truth 39        Nonverbal communication is governed by key principles  153

Truth 40        Nonverbal communication has an effect on your audience  157


Part VIII        The Truth About Visual Aids

Truth 41        Visual aids can help your audience understand your message  161

Truth 42        Understand visual images before you use them  165

Truth 43        Choose the right visual  169

Truth 44        Use PowerPoint effectively  173

Truth 45        Consider speaking without visuals  177


Part IX         The Truth About Handling an Audience

Truth 46        Assess the mood of your audience  181

Truth 47        Answer the audience's questions  185

Truth 48        Handle hostility with confidence  189


Part X          The Truth About What Makes a Presentation Work

Truth 49        Know as much as possible about the location  193

Truth 50        Use the microphone to your advantage  197

Truth 51        Know your limits  201


                     References  205

                     Acknowledgments  207

                     About the Author  209




Truth About Confident Presenting, The

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