Jock Talk

Book Review: Jock Talk

Jock Talk: 5 Communication Principles For Leaders As Exemplified

By Beth Noymer Levine

93 pages

The big idea: Beth Noymer Levine takes an unusual approach to the old “business as sports” analogy. Instead of focusing on the puppet masters who pull the strings behind the scenes, Levine analyzes athletes in some of their most memorable moments as public speakers. In each chapter of Jock Talk, Levine uses two sports stories — one positive, one negative — to teach a lesson about addressing an audience. Through the victory speeches and media flubs of sports heroes, Levine helps business leaders learn what to do, and what not to do, if they want to be great, persuasive speakers. She guides readers through the process of preparing and executing a powerful, poignant and invigorating speech so they don’t flounder when they take the stage.

Read it: This book is pleasantly simple in every way. It’s short, it’s easy to read and it gets straight to the point. Levine never muddles her core message, and uses entertaining sports stories that most readers will remember, such as Michael Jordan’s highly criticized Basketball Hall of Fame induction speech. Jock Talk is a quick and fun read, and you take away an accessible and useful list of key points, such as remaining transparent in the face of failure. Each chapter ties together in a breezy way, and Levine does a great job of teaching without boring her audience.

Skip it: There’s no real reason not to spend a short afternoon bettering your public speaking skills, but if you are looking for an excuse to stay away, here are a couple. The book is quite formulaic and never delves into the unexpected. Some of Levine’s advice should already be in your arsenal, and a good portion of the page count is made up of skip-able exercises.

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