For anybody looking to improve their public speaking skills, there ain’t no better way to learn about the craft than by picking up a good book. While you can learn a lot from blog posts (especially Communicate You I hope!) there is still no substitute for an in-depth book, written by an expert. In this post I list some of my favourites.
1) Confessions of a Public Speaker
In this hilarious and highly practical book, author and professional speaker Scott Berkun reveals the techniques behind what great communicators do, and shows how anyone can learn to use them well. For managers and teachers — and anyone else who talks and expects someone to listen — Confessions of a Public Speaker provides an insider’s perspective on how to effectively present ideas to anyone.
2) The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking
Recently updated, Dale Carnegie’s Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking has literally put millions on the highway to greater accomplishment and success. This book shows you how to have maximum impact as a speaker, in every situation that demands winning others over to your point of view.
3) Talk Like TED
Public speaking coach and bestselling author Carmine Gallo explores what makes a great presentation by examining the widely acclaimed TED Talks, which have redefined the elements of a successful presentation. Talk Like TED outlines the techniques used by the best speakers to make a presentation more dynamic and successful.
4) Presentation Zen
Best-selling author and speaker Garr Reynolds presents his classic best-selling book Presentation Zen in which he shows readers there is a better way to reach the audience through simplicity and storytelling, and gives them the tools to confidently design and deliver successful presentations.
Checkout my interview with best-selling author Garr Reynolds here.
5) Presenting to Win
Jerry Weissman, the world’s #1 presentation consultant, shows how to connect with audiences…and move them to action! Presenting to Win teaches presenters of all kinds how to dump those PowerPoint templates once and for all and tell compelling stories that focus on what’s in it for the audience.
6) Stand and Deliver
Dale Carnegie makes a second appearance on this list with a book that is packed with tips, strategies, and secrets you can use immediately to begin dramatically improving all of your communications. Stand and Deliver gives you everything you need to know to become an incredibly poised, polished, masterful communicator.
7) TED Guide to Public Speaking
For anyone who has ever been inspired by a TED talk, this is an insider’s guide to creating talks that are unforgettable. Chris Anderson’s Official TED Guide to Public Speaking explains how the miracle of powerful public speaking is achieved.
8) Awful Presentations
Awful Presentations are too often the norm, with swathes of text on the screen, presenters speaking over everyone’s heads, little interaction, no stories, poor images, and a bored audience. Why? In this book, presentation specialist Barry Brophy explains why competent people give hapless presentations. And it’s not because of nerves.
Public speaking coach Nancy Duarte outlines an approach to transform presentations into engaging journeys for the audience. Resonate helps you make a strong connection with your audience and lead them to purposeful action. The author’s approach is simple: building a presentation is a bit like writing a documentary. Using this approach, you’ll convey your content with passion, persuasion, and impact.
Checkout my interview with best-selling author Nancy Duarte here.
10) The Lost Art of the Great Speech
Prepared by an award-winning writer, Richard Dowis, the Lost Art of the Great Speech covers every essential element of a great speech. Some of the topics covered include outlining and organising, beginning with a bang, making use of action verbs and vivid nouns, and handling questions from the audience.
If you’re looking for a great book to help you elevate your public speaking performances, choose one from the list above and get started today. I’m sure you will find one that can help you take your public speaking skills to the next level. If you have a particular favourite please let me know.