Monday, May 30, 2011

Janner's Complete Speechmaker

Author:       Greville Janner
Published:   2003
Publisher:    Thorogood
Hardcover:  410 Pages

This book is based on a lifetime's experience of the author in public speaking and in training the communicators at every level.
It is divided into four sections :

Book One - Speechmaking :  Provides the complete range of essential knowledge and guidance needed for a skilled speaker. It covers preparation, delivery, language, practicalities,  handling audiences and occasions,  chairing a meeting etc.

Book Two - Model Speeches: Consists of  draft speeches for varying occasions like Openings, Business Speeches, Introductions and Vote of Thanks.

Book Three - Classic Speeches: Contains seven speeches (mainly political themes) of great oratorical merit. The selection includes speeches by Winston Churchill, Jawaharlal Nehru and Martin Luther King.

Book Four - Compendium of Retellable Tales: The author offers an array of over 500 gems of quotes, jokes, stories which he has successfully used among varied audiences to create laughter or emotional impact. He also offers several tips on how to adapt and retell them.

The book consists of almost 80 short chapters, which makes it very easy for the reader to choose and understand the topic they are interested in.

A very useful guide for beginners in the public speaking path, though for veteran and confident  public speakers it may be too fundamental and repetitive.

One Great Takeaway:

Extract from Chapter 43 - Handling Large Audiences
"India’s leaders must be prepared to speak to audiences of any size, up to tens of thousands. I asked Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, famous for his oratorical skill, for his secret. How does he keep such huge crowds gripped by his words and style. He replied:
Speak from your heart to their hearts. It is not enough to stimulate their intellects.’
So identify your listeners. Discover where their hearts lie and talk to them from your heart to theirs. Combine heart and mind."

How true ! If we have to learn just one thing about the art of public speaking, this should be the one ! 

Useful Links:
  •  Three Sample Chapters:
    • Chapter 43 - Handling Large Audiences; 
    • Chapter 44 - Questions and Hostility
    • Chapter 45 - Interruptions

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Secrets of Success in Coaching: 12 Ways to Excel as a Coach

Author:        Mick Cope
Published:    2010
Publisher:     Pearson Education Limited
Paperback: 152 Pages

According to the author the coaching can be really successful only when the coach is truly competent, follows a client-centric coaching approach, has a deep sense of ethical responsibility and seeks to help the client deliver change that is of value and sustainable.

Through this book the author shares with the reader his years of coaching experience and intends to help them become a highly successful and competent coach.

The book offers a tool kit of 12 techniques to excel as a coach. Each  technique is supplemented by a list of questions to ask the client. Answering these questions will develop a sense of self-awareness in the client which will be of great help in  their professional or personal journey towards self-improvement.

The techniques described are simple and practical. However couple of them are somewhat idealistic in my view - for e.g. not to coach the clients  who do not take ownership of their goals, objective of the coaching  being to make the client self-reliant and not dependent on the coaches anymore. 
Really noble intent ! But how many coaches  follow this principle !

The book is elegantly written using a very simple language and in short self-contained chapters, so that one can read a chapter and apply the idea immediately with their clients. A real handy and concise guide which every consultant or coach will find useful.

Key Takeaways:
(Extracts from the last chapter of the book)

  • Look for real clients with a real passion to change – and if they are not ready to change don’t feed their delusion by playing at a coaching relationship.
  • There is only one coaching question – ‘So what is stopping you?’ Your role is not to fix the client – rather it is to help the client understand this question, its relevance to them and how to frame and answer the question.
  • Great goals are robust, clear and the client understands what they will feel like once delivered. Great outcomes create great journeys.
  • There is no single style – there are just variations. The more that a coach can understand the variations, learn to flex and adapt their style and use these styles in an effortless way with the client, the greater chance they will have of delivering a coaching outcome that is successful and sustainable.
  • The trick with solution generation is to get a fix that will give a successful and sustainable outcome. Success can be easy – it is the sustainable bit that can be hard. This is where you have to work hard to really push the client to be innovative about solutions they might never have considered attempting.
  • The ability to look beyond what the client is saying and listen to what isn’t being said is critical. The more that a coach can tune and hone their ability to listen to the unsaid, the deeper appreciation they will have of the real issue and the better chance there will be of creating a real and sustainable outcome.
  • In most cases big successes come from small changes. Your job is to help the client understand this and then learn how to push the pause button and change the important choices.
  • Most people have made a change that they have failed to sustain. The coach’s job is to turn the ‘I’ve failed’ statement into ‘That’s interesting’. From this point the client can learn about what happened and why it happens, and then learn to recognize the triggers that cause regression and anticipate and avoid them next time round.
  • The first gift that you offer is to help client fix the problem and the second gift is to help ensure it sticks. The last and greatest gift the client can offer is to understand how to coach themselves in the future and so ease the dependency on others. To do this you can help them to understand reflective learning and from this learning develop a self-coaching style that frees them of any further need for a coach.
Useful Links:

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest

Author:        Stieg Larsson
Translator:   Reg Keeland
Published:   2009
Publisher:   Maclehose Press 
Paperback: 612 pages
Buy from

Readers in India

This is the final book in the Millennium Trilogy . The other two books are "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"and "The Girl who Played with Fire". All the three books are translations from Swedish and have been in Amazons' Top 100 Bestseller lists for several months.
The saga of the protagonist Lisbeth Salander continues and after many twists and turns concludes, with her gaining the freedom to take her own decisions. There are too many characters in the story which makes the job of keeping track of them somewhat difficult. Nevertheless a  fairly good and interesting plot.
A good book for light reading and passing time, but hardly any re-read value. Same goes with the two prequels to this book.