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Confessions of a Public Speaker

Confessions of a Public Speaker

by Scott Berkun
Confessions of a Public Speaker

Confessions of a Public Speaker

by Scott Berkun


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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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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781449301958
Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Incorporated
Publication date: 01/08/2011
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 677,572
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)

About 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

Table of Contents

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;
Photo credits;

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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,

Customer Reviews