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Scott Berkun – Confessions of a Public Speaker Book Review

Scott Berkun - Confessions of a Public SpeakerI’m a Public Speaker…

I’m a public speaker – not a beginner and not an old pro either – and this book saved the day for me.

Recently, I was preparing for a presentation that I was giving and to put it mildly, I was struggling. In the midst of plotting new material to a new audience sector I was running out of time and on top of that I had a miserable cold that was draining my energy.

The Book: Scott Berkun, Confessions of a Public Speaker, O’Reilly, 2010.

Author’s Website: ScottBerkun.com

(We rapped Scott’s book Making Ideas Happen over at Book Rapper)

Worst Nightmares

The remedy for my situation was Berkun’s chapter called ‘You can’t do worse than this’. It’s a collection of contributions from fellow public speakers revealing their worst nightmare come true.

  • What would you do if a SWAT team came in during your presentation and escorted an audience member out of the room?
  • Or you’ve typed in the wrong URL during a live presentation to present your audience with a porn site?
  • Or you had your suitcase stolen complete with clothes and laptop only hours before your presentation…

Now, that did make me feel better. I couldn’t do worse than that!

The best book on #publicspeaking I've read - funny, practical and real @scottberkun Confessions of a Public Speaker Click To Tweet

Some things I like…

Some things I like about this book:

  • It’s funny and engaging. I laughed often and I devoured the book in 3 days, which is always a good sign.
  • It’s based on experience and research. Berkun shares his own personal thoughts from his extensive worldwide experience with remarkable honesty and he complements that with research from the experts.
  • He pokes holes in those old clichés – imagine your audience naked and people would rather die than present. Myths busted!
  • It’s the good, bad and ugly. Most books about speaking give you a sanitized list of nice things to do: look your audience in the eye, avoid the lecturn and speak clearly. They’re about as useful as instructions for wearing a hat.
  • Photos you don’t expect to see – includes some personal photos from Berkun of the reality of life as a public speaker.

The Obvious Metaphor

The obvious metaphor is that it’s a look behind the curtain, but I think Berkun’s account of public speaking goes deeper that. It’s like you’re standing next to him as he whispers in your ear about what’s going on in his head – the nerves, the concerns and the secret hopes.

Most books I’ve read on public speaking tend to be like a lot of leadership books – they tell you how it’s supposed to be done and not how it actually is.

This is why I’d pleased to say this is the best book I’ve read on Public Speaking – It’s funny, practical and best of all, it’s real.

Read this because…

Read this book if you want to begin or improve your public speaking.

More: Listen to our podcast episode – Business Models for Speakers

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