Book Review: Speaking Up — Surviving Executive Presentations

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Speaking Up

Surviving Executive Presentations

by Rick Gilbert


Time Investment: ~200 pages, 2 hours reading time.

Reader Ratings:

Reader: Tabitha Farrar

General Readability Rating: 4.5/5

Reading about business can be dry. In fact, I expect it to be dry, which is why this book was a pleasant surprise. It reads like a story, but it’s not one of those twee “workplace conflict” scenarios — you know, the ones that try and get you to empathize with a character in a very hypothetical scenario and then transfer that to your real life situation. Not only are these sorts of books usually incredibly painful to read, but they are often so entangled in a specific scenario that they are useless because one cannot apply them to one’s own unique work situations. Not the case with Speaking Up, I’ve already applied some of the things I read.

The book is based on research and observation and it is a case study, but it’s presented in a way that focuses on the behaviors, outcomes, and conclusions rather than the nuances of the hypothetical. In short, this makes the information within it relevant to any situation.

Skill Development Rating: 5/5

Outstanding acknowledgment of the mis-match in expectations and needs in a situation that most people come across on a regular basis in their professional careers. Very precise and actionable advice on how to nail executive presentations that can be put to use instantly.

The profiling of the executives used in this book clandestinely delivers a bonus skill — knowing who executives are.

Reader notes:

Gilbert’s passion for how to present to executives comes through in the book, and it is hard not to join him when you first get that “a-ha!” moment. Understanding the differences between audience wants and needs, and in particular those that govern the C-suite will help you advance at work simply because you’ll stand a greater chance of not annoying the most important people in the industry as far as your career is concerned.

Would you recommend this book to a colleague?

Yes. Unless that colleague was someone which whom I was competing for a promotion. 😉

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