I have been doing technical presentations and training for several years now. Like any level-headed person though, I know that I don’t know everything, and that I can always use more training myself, and do plenty of other things to make myself better at what I do. So, I came across and read a few books about presenting. This is the first of three book reviews.
One of the first books that popped into my head when I though to do this was Confessions of a Public Speaker by Scott Berkun. I have heard of this book before from a friend who once ran a public speaking workshop that I attended. So I picked it up first from Amazon.
I had no idea what to expect with this book, despite having a great review from a friend. So, upon reading, the author did a great job of telling me what to expect – and he didn’t disappoint. This book is for everyone. You may not be a professional speaker, but you likely stand in front of your peers from time to time, presenting information to them. This book is for all of you.
Scott Berkun turned out to be an author of several other books, and a professional speaker. He has spoken all over the world, to all kinds of audiences, include some who spoke an entirely different language. By the time you get to the end of the book, you will definitely know that he’s experienced a little bit of everything during his speaking career. He validates many of the points he makes by telling us about those experiences.
I loved Berkun’s method of story telling, which is one of the points that he tells us over and over in the book. A speaker needs to learn how to engage audience members, and the best way to do that is to return to our primal roots of story telling. Humans have been telling stories since the beginning of time.
Berkun obviously does his research too. He relates many of his points and experiences to scientific explanations, and cites reference material whenever he quotes anyone or anything. He even delves into many of his real life experiences of things that have gone wrong, and things that you can do to prevent things from going wrong.
What’s more, Berkun also dispels many of the myths surrounding public speaking, such as thinking about the crowd being naked. He later brings things into perspective when he tells us how and why we experience physiological symptoms when confronted with speaking in front of an audience.
Overall, I really enjoyed Berkun’s writing style. It was easy to read, and fast to get through. I think you will find your experience to be the same. Why not pick up a copy for yourself? I don’t care who you are… You WILL become a better speaker after reading this book.
Confessions of a Public Speaker