Own Any Occasion - Ideas for Leaders

Own Any Occasion

Mastering the Art of Speaking and Presenting

About Author/s:

Erik Palmer started his career in sales before progressing to the trading floor of the Chicago Commodity Exchange. He then changed tack and became a teacher. For the last ten years he had distilled these presentational experiences and honed them as a speaking consultant. He focuses on improving oral communication—whether one-on-one, small group, large group, informal or formal, in-person or digital.


Public speaking is a skill that all leaders need to embrace and master, but that few get any real training in. The result, whether you are a speaking to a room of trainees or addressing an auditorium of thousands, tends to be anxiety-filled and sub-optimal. Palmer’s  view is that regardless of what or who you are presenting to a successful talk is founded on the same 11 key steps.

Core Idea

Palmer breaks the necessary points to focus on for a good presentation into two acronyms. The first, VOCAL, covers the five-steps you need to go through to prepare your talk. The key one is Audience, shaping your presentation for your particular crowd. One size does not fit all. Content follows, selecting the relevant and correct amount of information to share (most likely less than you would ideally want to). Then Organization – getting that content into a coherent order. The final two being Looks and Visual Aids. 

While this VOCAL section takes up the bulk of the book, it is really the delivery acronym of PVLEGS that will make the step change in your success. Poise, Voice, Life, Eye Contact, Gestures and Speed, of which the most difficult to master but the most pivotal is Life. Showing some passion and human connection in your delivery.


With this 11-Step plan Palmer is confident that you can accomplish any speaking engagement. The final section explores the 11-steps in various different contexts, digital presentations, training, management and even social situations. The book offers a solid guide and simple formula which should give the anxious and beginners confidence to take the floor. In the end, as the author emphasises, practice and constant feedback are the most impactful factors in improving your public speaking skill.


Buy Direct from ATD or Amazon UK

  • Title: Digital Transformation: Build Your Organization's Future for the Innovation Age

    Author/s Name/s: Erik Palmer

    Publisher: Bloomsbury

    ISBN: 978-1-4729-4037-7

    Publishing Date: October 2017

    Number of Pages: 240

Author Knowledge Rating: 1-5 (based on their years of experience, academic expertise in subject areas, and exposure to cross-functional thinking in the area)

Readability: 1-5 score(1=dense and v academic; 5=frantic; page turner)

Appropriate Length: (1=could have been written in 25% of the length;5=could have been longer)

Core Idea Value: (1=nonsense (or entirely esoteric); 5=game-changer)