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Pitching: not just for baseball any more

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Pitch Perfect

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Who among us hasn't put our foot in our mouth somewhere along the line? Bill McGowan and Alisa Bowman have written Pitch Perfect: How to Say It Right the First Time, Every Time to help us get our feet back on the ground where they belong.

McGowan coaches celebrities and CEOs how to conduct themselves when they are in the public eye. His earlier career in television journalism provided endless examples of what not to do.

First, McGowan outlines "the seven benefits of eloquence." These include getting a better job, having one's ideas heard, being more concise, reducing the anxiety associated with public speaking, being more productive, raising money, and not having to apologize for boo-boos.

McGowan stresses the need for practice. Even the best speakers cannot wing it and expect good results. He also debunks popular myths such as imagining the audience in its collective underwear.

Seven principles that do work are each given a chapter of explanation: lead with one's best material, use visual images, boil down the message, set the right pace, show conviction, looked interested, and play to one's strengths. McGowan illustrates how each of these principles can be used at work and at home.

The book gives specific and helpful advice on the best way to handle situations almost everyone commonly encounters such as meetings, job interviews, even being introduced to the inlaws for the first time.

Good communication skills can be learned. Why not learn from a master?

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