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THE AUTHOR: Bill McGowan, TV correspondent turned media trainer, with How to Say It Right the First Time, Every Time Alisa Bowman.
I read three to six books a week for my job as a book reviewer. So I almost never reread anything. Yet I have inhaled Bill McGowan's new Pitch Perfect three times in three days.
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The reason: Pitch Perfect isn't just about public speaking. It's about how to communicate better with people. Whether you are delivering a presidential inaugural address, giving your boss the weekly progress report, toasting a new bride and groom, or chatting up a neighbor at a picnic, this book will help. It is particularly useful for workplace newbies - a just-hatched grad starting that first job or someone returning to the office after decades at home.
McGowan runs a successful media training company whose clients include Lean In's Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook and football's Eli Manning. In his book, McGowan uses famous examples - politicians, actors, CEOs - to illustrate his points. For example, President Obama's disastrous first debate with Gov. Mitt Romney in 2012 proved that preparation is crucial. "Lane weaving" is how McGowan captures Sarah Palin's tendency to swerve from topic to topic during interviews.
But the traits McGowan, left, describes also apply to the nice guy in the next cubicle whose presentations are an incomprehensible stew of clichés and industry jargon. Or the much-loved sibling whose conversation is a download of mindless minutiae. And perhaps you'll recognize some of your own conversational crimes. Does anxiety turn you into a mad babbler incapable of completing a single thought, much less sentence?
McGowan provides seven principles to help you become more confident and more effective when you speak. He also provides specific tips about how to stand, how to sit, and, perhaps most importantly, how to listen to others.
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An invaluable graduation gift for those young folks more comfortable fondling their cellphones than, um, doing, you know, like that talking thing.
Photo credit: Robert Tardio
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