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The Elements of Impact

Andrew Monaghan
This short book is a collection of tips and guidance on public speaking and writing for a broad audience – and how to do both of them better and more effectively. It's been written primarily with an academic audience in mind (and you can tell that the main reason for writing it was frustration at beardy profs being incomprehensible when giving lectures or writing papers). But it contains a lot of material that will be really useful not just for them but for anybody who has to do either of these things as part of their day job.

Some of the basic suggestions on public speaking will be second nature to anybody who has ever been taught by the Army how to stand up in front of a group of people and tell them what they are going to do. But over and above that, there is a lot more depth and breadth of advice on dealing with diverse audiences and circumstances. Even if like me you give talks of various kinds every week, there are still some things in here that I wish I had known or thought of years ago.

The second main section of the book takes the same approach to writing for public consumption – it's all about making it crisp, stylish, readable and persuasive for different types of readership. To anybody for whom this doesn't come naturally, there is a lot here drawing on both classic masters of style and modern approaches to help you improve your written presentation.

This is a slim book and a quick read, but I find myself going back to specific points that are useful when trying to polish or edit the stuff that I write. Overall, I think it is a handy book to have for anybody who thinks they could speak or write better. It’s short but dense, and a lot better value for money than some of the waffly self-improvement titles I've seen in the same area.

Amazon product

At the time of writing (October 2017) Amazon say they don't have it in stock themselves, only through third-party sellers - so if you want it at a discount and postage free there may be a bit of a wait while they get it in. But if enough people put in an order, they should fix that.

Recommended. Five mushroom heads.
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