When it’s time to stand in front of a group of people, you think, “I really wish I were better at this.” Well, John Rasiej has written the book for those of us who know that if we knew just a few of the secrets that are out there, we could be that much more effective. If you’re looking to get better, and part of your work demands that you stand in front of small (or large) groups of paper, be sure to connect with John as soon as possible. The name of John’s newest book is:  “Speaking Leadership: 22 Essential Secrets to Make Speeches Succeed” and I’m writing this note to let you know that this little book is JUST the collection of ideas I needed to see as I’m gearing up for a new year, new me!

Thank you, USPS. John’s speaking secrets aren’t so secret anymore! The hand-addressed packaged arrived at my office a few days back, and within 48 hours of opening the package I’d read my copy of his book twice, cover to cover.

Yes, I got a signed copy (and, a really nice mention in the dedication) so ya gotta know that I am going to be a “little bit” biased on my write-up on this book. You see, I’ve known John for more than a year now, and I’ve always thought he knew his stuff. Reading through his newest book just proves the fact that he DOES think about this stuff more than we do. As he should…it’s his job to help us be better speakers.

(His first book, “Speak Louder Than Words: Five Ways You Can Change Lives and Boost Your Bottom Line Through Great Public Speaking” is one that I’ve read and recommended over the past year.)

Here’s a personal anecdote: I will tell you that in one #CoffeeChat discussion in New York City a while back, John shared just one of his “secrets” with me and I was able to use the idea THAT DAY. I know that the presentation I made for the investment bank I worked for (I was there to talk about “Growth Through the Mentoring Process”) started off on a “better” foot as I used one of the techniques you’ll read about in this book.

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I started reading the “Welcome” page, and new that I was going to get more than just an idea. So, I got my sketch booklet and just 4 different colors of pens. Over the next hour of studying John’s words, I let myself capture my own thinking about his ideas. Over the hour, I figured I’d fill in a page or so. During the FIRST read through this book, I immediately knew that John was on to something with this book. I also realized that this is a tool I’ll turn to, time and time again.

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Yes, I do set a timer when I sit down to read a friend’s book. This time, it was just 60 minutes. Of course, I’ll admit that some of the ideas John presents – his secrets for effectively connecting with audiences as we share our passion, gifts and dreams with them – would take a lifetime (or two) to perfect. My thinking: I’m going to review ONE of his tips a week for the next 22 weeks. I’m already starting by asking myself, “What’s in it for THEM?” a little bit more. I mean, I promise I always asked MYself that question…here’s my idea: I’m going to spend an extra email or two, and an extra phone call/conversation on the front sides of my work with clients.

Whether you’re going to be talking with a single customer at a time next week, or you’re planning a large corporate/professional presentation in front of dozens (or hundreds) of colleagues, this book will give you an idea you can use immediately.

I have a distinct feeling that next year’s goals (podcast here) are going to be positively impacted by reading/reviewing/studying and practicing the concepts that John has spoken about here… starting with the first tip…Make Sure It’s All About Them. Whenever you can, find out more and more details about the challenges and opportunities the people you’ll be talking to are facing right now. (In my one-on-one conversations with John, he’s recommended I instant-message, email, call and survey the people I’ll be speaking for…)

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As I put this book down just a few moments ago, I am realizing the importance of productive and effective speaking. You know, since the beginning…we’ve ended days by gathering around flickering lights to tell stories and pass on the learnings of the day. Now we’re living lives that are faster, bigger and bolder than many of us may have even thought were possible. The more I am out there, in the trenches working one-on-one with leaders in such programs as Leaders in Action and GET MOMENTUM, I am finding that we all have our own story to tell. And, in the telling of those stories, we DO get to create communities and make a difference.

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Over the next couple of weeks (I’m writing this during the holiday season, 2013) I’m going to provide new members of GET MOMENTUM with copy of John’s book. Simply join GET MOMENTUM, send me an email, and I’ll contact John to get you a signed copy. Who knows, this may be JUST what it takes to move your mission forward!


Happy Holidays to you…