Many thanks to our reviewers!

Review: Listen. Write. Present.

by Dr. Stanley Ridgley, Business School Faculty at Drexel University


I am all for especially powerful communication, no matter the field and no matter the topic.

Clear, concise, direct.

And while many books on presenting give promise to you, few deliver on that promise.

I collect those kinds of books – books on public speaking, on presenting, on oratory. I own almost 1,000 of them, going back to original volumes published in 1762 . . . and to reprints of classic works from ancient Rome and Greece. And, of course, books from our modern gurus of clear communication, only a handful of which I recommend. Many books are good, some are bad . . . and a very few are great. I recommend this one.
The Keys to the Kingdom?
We all want the keys to the kingdom, the secrets to help us develop into powerful presenters. Or at least we ought to want to become capable presenters if presenting is part of our mandate in the workplace. This is crucial for those of who work in esoteric fields, such as in science or technology.

If you work in science or technology, recognize that those of us not facile in the vernacular of your specialty will have especial difficulty in receiving complex messages not delivered in a way that’s understandable. And yet, you wonder how to communicate to those outside your priesthood.

So what can you do?

Listen. Write. Present. is one answer to your dilemma.

Written by Stephanie Roberson Barnard and Deborah St. James for Yale University Press, this work is a tonic for virtually all of the ailments that plague the goodhearted presenter, who wants to communicate the core of her or his work – but finds the task daunting. The task is clear and the mission important, because:

“What you say, how you say it, and why you say it speak volumes. Make sure that the words coming from your mouth and the actions accompanying them truly reflect what you want to communicate. Whether you’re communicating to your patients, your clients, your colleagues, or your boss, your success depends on structuring a clear message and delivering that message with confidence and conviction.”
Review: Especially Powerful
And this book is packed with instruction on just how to do all of that . . . and more. I am a big fan of books that seek to transform the reader in positive ways, and Listen. Write. Present. stands tall in that category. Ms. Barnard and Ms. St. James don’t provide useless communication “theory” – they tell you exactly what you must do to craft your message and deliver a winning presentation, particularly if you work in a technical field.

But even outside the science disciplines, this book can mold you into a more capable speaker, because many of the principles proffered are universal precepts from the canon of great speaker techniques. Moreover, the book is a delight to read . . . clear, pleasant, and elegant prose

As the book’s preface contends, if you are a science professional who wants to achieve better outcomes with patients, gain more funding for research, or advance your career or receive that coveted promotion, then precision communication skills are required.

This book delivers on the promise to mold you into that especially powerful communicator, provided, of course, that you actually commit to transforming yourself and your presenting habits. I recommend that you do.

A worthy book and a proud addition to your collection!

Massacre by PowerPoint

by Luca De Fiore, Owner, Il Pensiero Scientifico Editore

It is almost the end of the conference season: shake your teeth.

Most of the thousands of participants at conferences all levels (mostly “third party” order, and low grade) was a victim of the dreaded PowerPoint syndrome: a war that takes no prisoners, a massacre that common and public speakers. Yet, the basic rules are known, explained in several useful books, beginning with one of the most recent and successful, Listen write present, by Stephanie Roberson Barnard and Deborah St James. The work of the two authors is flawless and shines for conciseness and clarity. An example of integrated communication that combines traditional book, e-book, website and social networking (Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest too …).
Even if you are somewhat of a “good speaker,” know that …

  • People came to see you talk, not to listen to you read
  • You do not have to enter more than one sentence per slide
  • You have to use a single character and of such dimensions as to be read by every point of the room
  • You forget that there are tables (no matter whether few or many numbers)
  • You have to choose not didactic images that suggest associations of ideas
  • You have to use photographs, “beautiful” and medium to high resolution.

After all, the rules do not seem so harsh, so why not follow them? Because …

  • Consider reached great achievement appear on the conference program or the book of abstracts
  • Do you think that preparing the presentation is a pain in the ass that you would willingly spared
  • You feel you do not have time or can not summarize: you seems to be all important so that even if you have been allocated 10 minutes to prepare 20 slides
  • Build the slides thinking about what is important to you instead of asking what is important to those who came to listen.

It’s so hard to change your habits, it’s time that those who hold a conference ingaggiasse a tutor for the speakers. Doing research is important. Communicate objectives, methods and results of the research is very important.

(Translated from Italian with Google.)