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Confessions of a Public Speaker

1 rating: 5.0
A book by Scott Berkun

  "For those that are contemplating public speaking, or want to improve their current aptitude, it is impossible that after reading the book, that they won't be a better speaker. For those that simply want to know what goes into, and what makes … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: Scott Berkun
Genre: Computers & Internet, Reference
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
1 review about Confessions of a Public Speaker

A book that every speaker and speaker wannabe should read...

  • Dec 13, 2009
Rating:
+5
There are plenty of "proper" books that try and teach you how to stand up in public and give a talk in front of numerous people. And usually, these books are filled with numerous stories of successful talks and perfect scenarios. But let's be real... Life isn't like that, and *especially* when your talk tends to cover technical topics. Scott Berkun draws on his own *very* real experiences as a speaker in Confessions of a Public Speaker to help you through the trials and travails of being on stage. It's a great read, and I recommend it for any speaker (or speaker wannabe).

Contents:
I can't see you naked; The attack of the butterflies; $30000 an hour; How to work a tough room; Do not eat the microphone; Photos you don't expect to see; The science of not boring people; Lessons from my 15 minutes of fame; The things people say; The clutch is your friend; Confessions; Backstage notes; The little things pros do; How to make a point; What to do if your talk sucks; What to do when things go wrong; You can't do worse than this; Research and recommendations; How to help this book - a request; Acknowledgments; Photo credits; Index; About the author

You know you're going to get a "different" book with a disclaimer up front that compares his view of speaking to sausage. "Some people like seeing how sausage is made, but many do not." So true... Scott has had talks where thousands have hung on his every word, and others where five people showed up in a room that would house the same thousand. As such, he's qualified to tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly of public speaking. He's realistic about what you can expect from pursuing the goal of becoming a public speaker. The odds are stacked against you making $10000 a talk like big name CEOs, actors, and politicians. But if you practice and take your preparation seriously, you *can* have some fun doing it. Berkun's tips and techniques are just what you need to step up another level.

There were a number of topics that I thought were critically important. "Eating the microphone" is one of the worst things to suffer through as a member of the audience. It's when the speaker has not prepared, is fumbling through their notes, and shows a complete and total lack of respect for the audience's time and attention. If it's important enough for them to be there, it's even more important for you to be prepared with your material and to make the audience the #1 priority. Another point is made in the chapter on not boring people. It's far too easy to "shrink" when you get up on stage, thinking that you don't want to be egotistical or a know-it-all. But you *do* need to project power and authority. In other words, you have to be larger than you normally are, to play a role that may not be natural but is necessary to be successful. Both of these points (and a number of others) have me thinking about my next speaking opportunity and what I might do differently to make it more successful.

Confessions of a Public Speaker is one of those books I'd like to see handed out to every speaker at conferences I attend. Not only would it make the speakers better than they often are, but it would improve the experience for the attendees who pay significant amounts of money to show up. The time spent reading Confessions is time VERY well spent for everyone involved. Oh, and by the way... you *have* to read the book to the VERY end... yes, even the colophon and the following page. It's like sticking around past the movie credits for the short surprise clip... :)

Disclosure:
Obtained From: Publisher
Payment: Free

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