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Press Release: Speaking Up by Frederick Gilbert

Berrett-Koehler Staff Posted by Berrett-Koehler Staff.

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Press Release: Speaking Up by Frederick Gilbert

Speaking Up: Surviving Executive Presentations

Executive coach Frederick Gilbert explains how to present to senior management without ruining your career

“There are two times when you are alone in life: one is when you die, and the other is when you present to senior management.” - Rick Wallace, CEO of KLA-Tencor

Being in middle-management isn’t easy. It means dealing with daily ambiguity, lack of control, and potential chaos. These things only intensify when presenting to senior management. Careers and projects can come unwound in a matter of minutes if a presenter at the top doesn’t know the ropes. The stakes are high but the rules are unclear. Until now.

In SPEAKING UP (Berrett-Koehler, $24.95; paperback, 216 pages), psychologist and coach Frederick Gilbert provides an indispensable resource for anyone who needs to know just how to present to those higher up the chain, with crucial details on what these top-level men and women are looking for from presenters.

Gilbert hones in on three basic rules for “speaking up”: (1) know the people, (2) get to the point, and (3) improvise. Gilbert’s book is based on a decade of research and input from hundreds of interviews with mid-level managers. Most importantly, it features extensive commentary from executives who explain exactly what they want and don’t want in a presentation. Gilbert divides his book into four parts, each section offering invaluable information on:

- Looking at who C-Level executives actually are
- Exploring the “Seven Deadly Challenges” that can derail well-prepared presentations
- Giving presentations that keep your executives off their phone and focused on you
- Understanding the world of senior managers on a personal level

In each portion, Gilbert evaluates different elements of engagement with top-tier decision makers. The book additionally includes nine chapters containing QR codes for free videos on various topics, which interconnects readers with a self-paced video course that streams to computers directly.

SPEAKING UP illuminates the search for collaboration within a corporate landscape often characterized by brutal failures and intense pressure. Gilbert provides middle managers with practical knowledge on achieving successful presentations with the very people who run their organizations. With an erratic stock market and an uncertain economy, Gilbert’s book shows one thing is still clear: whatever’s going on around you, getting your points across to senior decision-makers will help keep your career path on the straight and narrow.

Author Bio

Frederick Gilbert is founder and chairman of PowerSpeaking, Inc, founded in 1985. In addition to training, he does executive coaching - having worked with more than 200 senior-level leaders - and keynote speaking. Before opening his firm, he held management positions with Hewlett-Packard and Amdahl corporations in Silicon Valley. Additionally, he holds a doctorate in humanistic psychology from Saybrook University and lectured at San Francisco State University. Speaking Up is his third book.

Speaking Up: Surviving Executive Presentations, Second Edition
By Frederick Gilbert
Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Pub Date: April 2013
ISBN: 978-1-60994-896-2
$24.95; 216 pages; paperback

Suggested Interview Questions

Frederick Gilbert, author of SPEAKING UP: Surviving Executive Presentations (Berrett-Koehler, April 2013)

Your book hones in on the importance of presenting to C-level executives. Could you briefly explain why this is the case?

Can you list some of the important characteristics of somebody who has “executive presence?”

What are the “Seven Deadly Challenges” that face mid-level presenters?

What is more important for this in middle-management: content or delivery? Or should both be focused on equally?

Is it important to know about the personal backgrounds of those in senior leadership? Why?

How would it benefit mid-level management to understand issues of job security and pressures that their executives face?

What’s the difference between “presentation mode” and “process mode,” and how will knowing the difference help top level presenters?

You place a large emphasis on the importance of improvisation. Could you explain this a bit?

What should a middle-manager do in tough situations, like if a key decision-maker gets up to leave the room?

What should someone do if their presentation ultimately leads to a dismissal?

What was the primary reason you decided to write -Speaking Up?’

To set up an interview, contact Kat Engh, [email protected] or 415-743-6469


jenny rao


July 7, 2017