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Confessions of a Public Speaker

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Overview

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. It's a unique, entertaining, and instructional romp through the embarrassments and triumphs Scott has experienced over 15...

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Confessions of a Public Speaker

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Overview

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. It's a unique, entertaining, and instructional romp through the embarrassments and triumphs Scott has experienced over 15 years of speaking to crowds of all sizes.

With lively lessons and surprising confessions, you'll get new insights into the art of persuasion — as well as teaching, learning, and performance — directly from a master of the trade.

Highlights include:

  • Berkun's hard-won and simple philosophy, culled from years of lectures, teaching courses, and hours of appearances on NPR, MSNBC, and CNBC
  • Practical advice, including how to work a tough room, the science of not boring people, how to survive the attack of the butterflies, and what to do when things go wrong
  • The inside scoop on who earns $30,000 for a one-hour lecture and why
  • The worst — and funniest — disaster stories you've ever heard (plus countermoves you can use)

Filled with humorous and illuminating stories of thrilling performances and real-life disasters, Confessions of a Public Speaker is inspirational, devastatingly honest, and a blast to read.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Part confessional, part "how-to," this entertaining book is a godsend for anyone who would rather have an appendectomy without anesthetic than address a group in public.

— Virginia Backaitis,

Suzy Welch
Smart, funny, and provocative, Scott Berkun's Confessions puts an very modern and wholly relevant spin on the fine art of public speaking.

— Suzy Welch, best-selling author and public speaker

Gina Trapani
Your next talk will be ten times better if you read this book first.

— Gina Trapani, founding editor of Lifehacker.com

Garr Reynolds
Loved it! This is a very informative and entertaining look at the important art of public speaking. Anyone who speaks for a living— including teachers — will greatly benefit from this book.

— Garr Reynolds, Author of Presentation Zen

Philip Delves Broughton
Even if you prepare well and avoid disaster, of course, you may not charm everyone in the audience. But you can at least—with Mr. Berkun's help—avoid being cripplingly nervous before that brown-bag presentation and wishing it were tomorrow.

— Philip Delves Broughton,

Chris Brogan
I've seen Scott speak a few times before, and he knows his stuff. Add to this his sense of humor, plus the fact that pretty much everyone can stand to learn some new ideas about speaking, and this book is a MUST for your collection.

— Chris Brogan,

Ben Rothke
For those that are contemplating public speaking, or want to improve their current aptitude, it is impossible that after reading the book, that they won't be a better speaker. For those that simply want to know what goes into, and what makes a really good presentation, Confessions of a Public Speaker is also a worthwhile book to read.

— Ben Rothke,

John Baichtal
With tips on how to combat pre-speech butterflies, battling the "tough room" and how not to bore people silly, this book will ensure your next Powerpoint will be a success.

— John Baichtal,

Virginia Backaitis
Part confessional, part "how-to," this entertaining book is a godsend for anyone who would rather have an appendectomy without anesthetic than address a group in public.

— Virginia Backaitis,

Tony Hsieh
Scott Berkun tells it like it is. Whether you're speaking to 10 people or 1000 people, you will gain insights to take your presentation skills to the next level. It's a rare book that will make you think AND laugh.

— Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos.com

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781449301958
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/5/2011
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 163,961
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Scott Berkun is the bestselling author of The Myths of Innovation,and Making Things Happen. His work as a writer and public speaker haveappeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Wired Magazine, Fast Company, Forbes Magazine, The Wall Street Journal and other media. He has taught creative thinking at the University of Washington and has been a regular commentator on CNBC, MSNBC and National Public Radio. His many popular essays and entertaining lectures can be found for free on his blog at www.scottberkun.com.

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Table of Contents

Disclaimer;
Chapter 1: I can’t see you naked;
Chapter 2: The attack of the butterflies;
2.1 What to do before you speak;
Chapter 3: $30,000 an hour;
Chapter 4: How to work a tough room;
Chapter 5: Do not eat the microphone;
5.1 Photos you don’t expect to see;
Chapter 6: The science of not boring people;
6.1 Set the pace;
6.2 Direct the attention (“What am I looking at and why?”);
6.3 Play the part: you’re the star;
6.4 Know what happens next;
6.5 Tension and release;
6.6 Get the audience involved;
6.7 You are judge, jury, and executioner;
6.8 Always end early;
Chapter 7: Lessons from my 15 minutes of fame;
7.1 We perform all the time;
7.2 Teleprompters (and memorization) are evil;
Chapter 8: The things people say;
8.1 The sneaky lessons of Dr. Fox;
8.2 Why most speaker evaluations are useless;
8.3 The speaker must match the audience;
8.4 Expert feedback you can get right now;
Chapter 9: The clutch is your friend;
9.1 Why teaching is almost impossible;
9.2 How to teach anyone anything;
Chapter 10: Confessions;
10.1 Backstage notes;
The little things pros do;
The confidence monitor;
The countdown timer;
The remote control;
Give stuff away to fill the front row;
Hide your microphone (and wear a collar);
We don’t need no stinking badges;
Lectern vs. podium;
Work the camera;
How to make a point;
Being silent makes your points;
What to do if your talk sucks;
Why your talk might suck;
Medium list of little things;
What to do when things go wrong;
You’re being heckled;
Everyone is staring at their laptops;
Your time slot gets cut from 45 minutes to 10;
Everyone in the room hates you;
One guy won’t stop asking questions;
There is a rambling question that makes no sense and takes three minutes to ask;
You are asked an impossible question;
The microphone breaks;
Your laptop explodes;
There is a typo on your slide (nooooo!);
You’re late for your own talk;
You feel sick;
You’re running out of time;
You left your slide deck at home;
Your hosts are control freaks;
You have a wardrobe malfunction;
There are only five people in the audience;
What to do if your situation is not here;
You can’t do worse than this;
Does anyone speak Georgian?;
What to do when the SWAT team comes;
A funny thing happened on my way to the stage;
Death by lecture;
CEO demo gone wrong;
Do not set anything on fire;
No one likes surprise porn;
I see sleeping people;
At worst we will shoot you;
Don’t blame the trains;
You work where?;
Watch your slides;
Why you don’t want to be up against Bono;
You will never speak of this to anyone;
Watch where you sit;
Please make a new talk and give it five minutes from now;
Check your mirror;
Waterproofing cannot save you;
Why you should not lecture in bars;
Research and recommendations;
Annotated bibliography;
Studying comedians;
Ranked bibliography;
Other research sources;
How to help this book: a request;
Acknowledgments;
Photo credits;
;
Colophon;

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

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(9)

4 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 3, 2012

    Enjoyed and appreciated, would recommend

    It was recommended to me and I enjoyed it....

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 11, 2011

    Very Useful book.

    There are a lot of books on public speaking so that you will not be boring. Why are those books so boring? I think I will write a book on how to write books that are not boring about public speaking. Unfortunately, Scott Berkun's book beat me to it. His book is NOT boring. The book is very readable and interesting. Most books on public speaking are written by professional speakers who have no idea what you and I go through when we suddenly have to give a talk to the local Rotary Club. Scott does know. He book is intensely practical for the everyday run-of-the-mill guy who has to talk to a Rotary Club. His advice has turned my speech tomorrow from an "oh my God what am I gonna do?" into a joyous and fun event. Best I should review the book today. Maybe the day after my speech I would have a different view. So Read This Book now so you will be ready when you have to prepare a speech for your Rotary Club.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 1, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Witty, conversational guide to making public presentations

    Futurist and best-selling author Scott Berkun knows all about public presentations. He speaks often at high-tech conferences and other pressurized gatherings. His easy-going, colloquial approach and unpretentious, folksy advice make this an quick, entertaining and useful read. Although about half of what he says is not new, the book is memorable because of his candor about the self-consciousness and awkwardness that most people experience when speaking in public. Berkun convinces you that anyone can excel at public speaking. He offers many techniques to help with the most difficult aspect: being yourself. getAbstract recommends this amusing guide to anyone who has to get up and talk to a roomful of strangers.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 19, 2011

    Must Read- Esp for Newbies & Reluctant Public Speakers!

    Confessions of a Public Speaker by Scott Berkun

    This is the first book I have read and reviewed for O'Reilly Publishing house, and it is a definite read for any person who does any type of public speaking. Berkun starts the book with a story, and continues to provide personal stories through out the book which makes the book a great, fast read. Berkun also provides personal reflection as to what the audience expects or doesn't expect, and what is remembered and not remembered. Berkun also helps put public speaking into perspective with, "..... start with the realization that no (one) has died from giving a bad presentation." Pg 15 of ePub along with Ian Tyson's quote,"the body's reaction to fear and excitement is the same... so it becomes a mental decision: am I afraid or am I excited?" pg 20.

    Berkun provides various tips and tricks, at least what has worked for him. Berkun also lists issues that speakers may not think of: using a count down timer, wear a collar and tuck the microphone cord under the shirt so that it doesn't get accidentally yanked off. A thorough appendix covers almost every imaginable horrific event; being heckled, your time slot has just been cut to 1/4th the time, etc.

    Overall I recommend this book to people who are new to public speaking or who continually state, "I hate public speaking." In fact I believe this book should be a recommended read for public speaking classes. The book is written in a casual format, he does use colorful words and scenarios, and what I find the most amusing, refers the reader to the movie Animal House as having two speeches which should be studied by all public speakers pg 162.

    I received this book for free from O'Reilly publishing house in return for reading the book and providing an honest review.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    On Effective Public Speaking

    Confessions of a Public Speaker (Scott Berkun, O'Reilly Media, Oct 2009. 240 pages, ISBN: 978-0-596-80199-1) is a book on how to improve your public speaking. Scott, who is a professional speaker (as well as a writer) has collated his extensive experience of public speaking into this delightful book.

    Instead of a dry book having bulleted contents and checklist, this book is woven together by a series of interesting anecdotes. The book begins with an inflight conversation, where Scott is asked, "When ... giving a lecture, do you imagine everyone in the room naked?" setting the tone for what is to follow.

    Each chapter of the book focuses on various tips and tricks that a speaker should know. One of the underlying message is about preparation and practice - nothing else matters.

    There is an interesting chapter on how much speakers are paid and on what basis. There is another chapter dealing with the nuances of being on television. A third one talks about how to be a good teacher, based on his experience learning stick shift (manual gear) driving, taught by his brother.

    The most hilarious chapter is You can't do worse than this, which houses a collection of goof-ups by various public speakers.

    Like his The Myths of Innovation, this book by Scott Berkum is also a very interesting read. Perhaps it could have been shortened a bit, but then unlike speeches, books are not "time-boxed".

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Great book for those who've done a little public speaking . . . or a lot

    For a book on public speaking, this is a very entertaining, fun, enjoyable read. It's written by someone who does this for a living, learned things the hard way, and has a lot of good stories to tell. I daresay you might even like this if you had no interest in public speaking at all. Nonetheless, the author has some excellent ideas and advice for those who need to give a presentation here and there, and for those who do it a lot and still have room for improvement. I highly recommend it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2013

    Great read!

    Great read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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