Book Review – Speak Up!

Speak Up!  A woman’s guide to presenting like a pro. By Cyndi Maxey (CSP) and Kevin O’Connor (CSP).

Speak upThe folks at St Martin’s Publishing kindly send me a review copy of the book. so here are my thoughts.

When I started reading it, I quickly realised that it is not just a book on presentation skills for women, but it is also on how to present yourself as a women. So, in addition to learning how to speak with credibility, be memorable, use PowerPoint, know your audience and speak with conviction, you will also learn how to make connections, network with colleagues, and communicate with executives.

Speak Up! address three areas, namely preparation, presentation and professionalism. It is made up of 40 short chapters, each of which ends with a brief summary of the key points in the chapter. This makes it easy to delve into a particular chapter, and in a few minutes find solutions to a particular problem. Alternatively, since it is an easy read, you can simply read it from beginning to end, and then keep it as a reference.

The authors,  Cyndi Maxey and Kevin O’Connor are both Certified Speaking Professionals, which means that they have plenty of experience on the platform. This comes through in the practical advise and tips in the book.

Speak Up! mentions some of the natural of advantages of being a women, and discusses how to take advantage of them. For example, women are (typically) more emphatic listeners than men, which can help you to have a deep understanding of the needs of your clients.

There are two underlying themes in the book. The first that a person that has strong presentation skills will stand hand and shoulders above the crowd. This rings true to me, since I believe that you cannot get ahead in life without effective communication skills. The second theme is that a woman can operate in a (still) largely male business world, and yet still be authentic to herself.

While the book focuses on the issues that a woman typically faces when giving presentations, most of the lessons are equally relevant to both women and men. So, for the guys reading this review, read the book. It will help you to become a better presenter, and it will help you to help women that you work with to become better presenters as well!

Do I recommend the book? Yes most definitely.

The book is available at most book retailers, including and Barnes & Noble, or from Cyndi’s website. The cost is $14.95.

Finally, watch out for an interview with the author on my blog. It should be published in the next few days.

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