Recommended Books for Public Speakers

Posted on by Rachel in advent speaker tips.

Which should you spend your Christmas Amazon voucher on?

There are many books on public speaking available, but which should you spend your Christmas Amazon voucher on? Here are some that I have learned from and would recommend.

Confessions of a Public Speaker

My favourite book on being a public speaker is Confessions of a Public Speaker by Scott Berkun. That book also features in a story from my first big speaking engagement. Despite the fact I now speak at around 30 events a year, it wasn’t always that way, I was terrified of public speaking. Once I had decided to give it a try I read several books, but Confessions of a Public Speaker was the one to which I kept returning, as it didn’t just give speaking tips, but also addressed all the weird fears I had of things going wrong, in a way that made me feel I could do this.

I was so nervous about speaking I hadn’t looked at the lineup for the event, when I did I realised that Scott was actually going to be speaking at the event too! So, I had chance to thank him in person. This book is my top pick for speakers experienced and brand new.

TED Talks

The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking is by head of TED Chris Anderson. It’s an enjoyable read for any speaker, explaining how best to create content that will get your ideas across.

Talk Like TED

In Talk Like TED Carmine Gallo deconstructs successful talks to show why they work. As all of the TED talks are online, you can look at the original talk and then read Gallo’s assessment of it.

The Presentation Secrets Of Steve Jobs

Also by Carmine Gallo, and in a similar vein to Talk Like TED, The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs deconstructs the talks given by Steve Jobs. Once again you can find the talks online to refer to.

Presentation Now: Prepare a first rate presentation when you’re short of time

In Presentation Now Andrew Lightheart explains how to create and deliver a top class presentation, without needing to sweat over it for weeks. Even if you aren’t short of time this is an excellent read for any presenter or would-be presenter.

Demystifying Public Speaking

In Demystifying Public Speaking Lara Hogan gives a practical and sensible guide to preparing and delivering your presentation. An excellent read for new and nervous speakers.

And a few more

In addition to the books above, which are all those I have read and would recommend, I asked on Twitter for recommendations from other people. In the main the same few books were suggested but also a couple of additional resources.

Alan Dalton recommended The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People as “it has great advice about empathising with your audience.”

Kristīne Corbus replied to share a useful resource, that isn’t a book, but is similarly long form content. The Blazingly Simple Guide To Getting Your COnference Talk Accepted by Rob Lambert.

Advent speaker tips: this is part of a series of tips for public speakers that we’re posting throughout advent. Check back daily during December for more.

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