The How of Wow: A Guide to Giving a Speech that Will Positively Blow 'Em Away

Tony Carlson's book covers all the speechwriting and speech-giving bases with wisdom, experience and candor.

It's hardly the first book on speechwriting and it's probably not the best. But it is the latest, and it's worth adding to your library. That's the skinny on The How of Wow, a book by Tony Carlson, a senior writer at Bell Canada. Carlson's new book, published over the summer by the American Management Association, benefits from two essential advantages: 1. Carlson is a corporate writer and not an academic or a consultant. So he never strays far from the pragmatic politics of creating a speech in an organization, and through many wry anecdotes and practical lessons, he makes his experience pay off. 2. Smartly, the book is written to the speaker, not the speechwriter. When and whether and how to hire a speechwriter is an appendix in this book, and a good one. But the book is written to the person at the podium. It's a good choice, and not just because of the book-marketing reality that there are more speakers than speechwriters in the world. This is a book everyone can learn from. The only quarrel with this book is that it does not itself live up to its title, because it also suffers from the same two traits that make it special. Carlson, the veteran corporate speechwriter, seems at many times to be addressing the leaders who he hopes to be his readers the way he's learned to talk to senior executive clients: Gingerly. While the book tells speakers it's important to be interesting, how to make the speech topical enough to grab press, how to research the audience so that your speech resonates and how to deliver a speech successfully, it doesn't quite come out and say what must be said:

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