Book Review: The Art of the Pitch by Peter Coughter

In his book ‘The Art of the Pitch: Persuasion and Presentation Skills that Win Business’, Peter Coughter states that “Everything is a presentation” and how true those words really are. When you pick up this book, you will not put it down and when you finally do, you will want more. Peter takes a no nonsense approach when he speaks about the art of presenting and as soon as you start on page one, you are in his class and class is certainly in session.

To give you a brief background on Peter, at a very young age he started an agency with two others and his book are recollections of agency presentations to clients along with examples from others in the field. He has been in the trenches of agency life and has had to stand in front of many high level executives and sell his agency’s ideas. He knows how it is to win and has also faced rejection. At times as you go through the book he seems like a Drill Sargent but that is his passion that shines through. He tells you what works and what doesn’t.

Presenting is one of the most feared aspects of life but Peter gives you the tools to conquer it and inspires you to give the presentation of your life. He outlines the building blocks of an effective presentation:

  1. It’s a conversation
  2. Be yourself
  3. Tell stories
  4. Know your stuff
  5. Relax and be personable
  6. Teamwork counts
  7. Make it personal
  8. Know your audience
  9. Show no fear
  10. Rehearse
  11. 11.Know why you’re there

If you are to succeed in your career, you need to have effective communication skills. Most people ‘wing’ presentations but that is not an effective approach. In order to be the best, you have to study and ‘The Art of the Pitch’ needs to be a mandatory textbook you need to read.

Everyone in an agency role needs to read this book. In fact if I were an agency President, it would be a mandatory read for my team. But it is not just for agency folk. This book is for anyone that is tired of making boring presentations. This book is for someone desperately wanting to excite the audience and make a presentation that they can be proud of. My hope is that Peter writes more books so that we can receive more of his wisdom.

Finally, one of my favourite parts of Peter’s book is how he ends it with a quote from Marianne Williamson that says:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous? Actually who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us. It is not just in some; it is in everyone. And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Make your presentations shine because everything is a presentation. That conversation with your boss, that meeting with your team or that elevator pitch to a client.

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