My Top 5 Books on Public Speaking

If you have had any chance of public speaking, you know it can be intimidating or empowering. That is depending on what stage of your learning experience you are at. I am a student of public speaking and I have been sharing what I know on my YouTube channel: 365 Days of Public Speaking (https://www.youtube.com/user/365dps). A lot of the things I know, I learned from books. In this post I share my top 5 books on public speaking. It is a great place to start if you need help or have targetted questions on how to improve your public speaking skills.

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Steve Gallo is the author of the pitch enthusiasts’ ‘bible’, The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience, and his Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds boils down to nine secrets of effective presentation, gleaned from his analysis of more than 500 TED Talks. Drawing on the research of psychologists and other experts in communications, Gallo also offers pearls of wisdom extracted from interviews with some of the most notable TED Talks speakers. This has broad appeal, bound to be read as enthuastically by a fan of TED Talks as it will be digested by public speakers.

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The CEO of TED Chris Anderson has been at the head of the organisation since the early 2000s, and so is one of the ultimate authoritative sources on public speaking in the modern era. He has an intuitive understanding of how the best speakers and presentations can get the audience onside, stir excitement and share knowledge, both within the presentation room and much farther beyond. For TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking, Anderson draws on a huge range of material drawn from working with the best TED speakers in a bid to help you become a master of impactful presentation.

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Another entry by Steven A. Beebe and Susan J. Beebe, A Concise Public Speaking Handbook (4th Edition) is a concise primer in preparing, researching and delivering a speech underpinned by the Beebes’ signature audience-focused strategy, which shows the speaker how to consider and analyse the audience at every step of the process. As a comprehensive round-up of the core presentation skills, this is an excellent resource for public speaking in any walk of life.

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This is one of the definitive and classic public speaking reference works. Self-help colossus Carnegie is no longer with us, of course, but his lessons for effective public speakers are timeless. Unsurprisingly, The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking focuses on boosting your confidence, as well as using props and exercises to develop your speech. Sure, it’s old school, but in this case, there is no school like the old school.

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The sub-title of Berkun’s Confessions of a Public Speaker shows that this is a book for entrepreneurs who are ready to “tell, sell and compel”. There is some great information in here for those who want to blitz their pitches with maximum engagement presentations. This is a great book, easy to understand, and you will find that the skills it imparts will stand you in good stead in life as well as in business.

  • Talk like Ted is a great book for speakers – I agree!