Confessions of a public speaker

title Confessions of a public speaker
published October 2009
ISBN 978-0-596-80199-1
More info

I have read a number of books on giving good presentations. I know that the best way of learning to give presentations is to actually do it. This is the book that comes close to the feeling of doing the presentation yourself. All stories are real and some of them give you the I had that as well feeling.


In this book by Scott Berkun you can read about the speakers experiences Scott had. But he also shares stories from other speakers that he ran into. The books starts discussing the feelings you have when doing a presentation. Every good presenter is nervous, if you are not nervous you are a liar. He moves on describing how you can make money from doing presentations. What is the difference between a 5 dollar and a 30000 dollar presentation.

Scott goes into details and discusses the setup of the room, how to move people to make them feel better and have more interaction. If the room is setup right it is time to work on making your point. Make sure to have clear points, no contradictions and be sure that you fully understand your own points.

Next is some advice on not boring people. What is the length you can entertain people before they fall a sleep or start reading their email. How do you overcome this?

With this depressing fact, it’s easy to understand why most lectures are slow one-way trips into sedation. Our bodies, sitting around doing little, go into rest mode. And where our bodies go, our minds will follow

In a next section Scott talks about receiving feedback on your presentations. He speaks of the lack of feedback. People tend to give positive feedback in person or just ok/not ok. This is useless to you as a presenter. In the end some presenters that do the best they can just suck at it. If nobody tells them, they keep on doing it, giving you pain as well. Scott comes with a few good questions to ask the audience. One of them I like.

Are you considering doing anything different as a result of this talk?

One of my favorite sections is called The clutch is your friend. In this section he uses a story about learning to drive. He had a hard time getting his drivers license in an automatic car. His brother gave him a very valuable lesson about using the clutch, which is more fun than the automatic way.

My Opinion

I really like this little book. I like the very practical way of writing by Scott. All the real life experiences that he shares in this book make it very easy to read.

The book contains a number of photographs that I would like to see in color. But that would have made the book a lot more expensive.

I recommend all presenters to read this book. Ideal to read while in transit or with a nice glass of beer in the sun. I think you cannot resist to have a smile on your face from now till then

Confessions of a Public Speaker

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