Confessions of a Public Speaker by Scott Berkun

I read this before a presentation I had to give at work – and I giggled throughout! confessions of a public speaker

Thought it was pretty rare to find a book on public speaking that’s funny (rather than fear inducing) but this one delivers.

If you buy it I suggest skipping right to the back appendix where you can read about the ‘worst’ stories of public speaking. The idea being that you sure can’t do any worse that these people! Think stories like waking up hungover before your preso and accidentally smoking a joint, or even going to show the audience your new website and instead popping up a website full of anal sex – yes these all happened!

Anywho, you’ll feel better that

  1. Your preso can’t be any worse than these stories
  2. You can still go back and read the rest of the book for some useful tips.

Loved the use of humor in this and the realistic advice – aka the butterflies won’t go away, you just have to learn to tame them. I would have loved to see more on the use of body language, gestures, pumping up the enthusiasm (actual delivery) but it doesn’t delve much into this.

Here’s a few fabulous speaking tips from Scott

(headings = mine, quotes directly from the book)

1. Realise it’s not as important as you think
“The secret to coping with these events is to realize everyone forgets about them after they happen — except for one person: me. No one else really cares that much.”

2. You must forget about being perfect
“I know I make small mistakes all the time. There’s no way not to. Besides, when performing, perfection is boring.”

3. Make the choice to be excited
Tyson, a stand-up comedian and motivational speaker, offered this gem of advice: “The body’s reaction to fear and excitement is the same…so it becomes a mental decision: am I afraid or am I excited?”

4. What to do if you ever get stuck in a 1,000 seater room with two people listening…
“Make the room your own by asking the attendees to gather into that more intimate space.”

“If you pack them together, at least they’ll know they’re not the only losers who decided to come hear you. They are now losers with loser friends, which — all things considered — is much better than being a loser without any friends at all.”

5. Get a great title (or borrow one)
“The top five problems you have with <insert thing here> and how to solve them Why <insert thing here> sucks and what we can do about it Mistakes I made in <insert thing here> and what I learned The most frequently asked questions and brilliant answers about <insert thing here>”

6. Tell stories
“If you find natural ways to draw attention to things that illustrate your point, use them. The simplest way to do this is by telling stories.”

7. Take up some room
“In other words, be bigger than you are. Speak louder, take stronger positions, and behave more aggressively than you would in an ordinary conversation.”

8. Dial up the energy
“Enthusiasm matters. At the moment you open your mouth, you control how much energy you will give to your audience.”

Want some more tips? Grab the book here.

Happy reading,

C x



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