THE BLOG
08/16/2012 01:30 pm ET | Updated Oct 16, 2012

Review: The Pin Drop Principle

If your job involves making presentations, if you lead meetings, speak in public, sell, manage or lead others, own a business or need to be more persuasive or convincing for any reason start here: The Pin Drop Principle.

David Lewis and G. Riley Mills, co-authors and business partners, have created a 'how to', a resource guide that also has a flowing narrative; you can read from cover to cover or just randomly page through. I read it through in one sitting, end to end and keep it on my desk for 'random reading.'

"An audience will give you the benefit of a doubt-- up until the moment you open your mouth. After that, it all rests on you." Lewis and Mills

Pin Drop is one of those magical books that always seems to have something new every time I open it: It's full of great quotes, concepts and techniques. I can easily see it being part of future MBA curriculum reading lists, if not the subject of a semester-long class in itself. My own copy has yellow highlighting on just about every other page as I mark things to remember, use and share. I've already quoted it to my own clients more than once because the material is fresh and urgent.

Authors Lewis and Mills are literally world-class presenters -- business men who travel the world teaching corporate communication to eager audiences. They're also actors with a solid training in being dynamic speakers and performers. The title of the book refers to a quote from one of the greatest acting teachers of all time, Uta Hagen (I suggest you buy and read the book for the explanation of the title).

If I were to fault the book I'd say it has a bit too much information in its 200-some pages -- but for the book buyer or corporate trainer who wants to get the most from their training budget, that turns out to be a plus. I also find it to be a unique and timely book, drawing on lessons from the past but also acknowledging a different 'listening' in our current culture including a shorter attention span and a much distracted audience.

Pin Drop offers tools and techniques from choosing the right venue to dealing with conflict or discord in an audience. It helps you understand everything from crafting the best possible presentation to understanding your own personal speaker's style. It gives tips on preparation, stage fright, the art of persuasion and delivering bad news.

It might be the only book I know that includes lessons from Demosthenes, Chris Rock and Jason Fried, as if they were co-conspirators making us better communicators so that we can, as the author exhorts us in the last chapter, "Get out there and be amazing."

Those who know the story of W. Clement Stone, the founder of what is now AON Corporation, used Napoleon Hill's book Think and Grow Rich as a training manual for all of his employees. It will be a smart executive who today buys copies of The Pin Drop Principle for their employees and encourages them to meet, discuss, develop and implement the practices, ideas and exercises in this book.

The results are nearly guaranteed.