Confessions of a Public Speaker

Book description

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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Table of contents

  1. Disclaimer
  2. 1. I can’t see you naked
  3. 2. The attack of the butterflies
    1. What to do before you speak
  4. 3. $30,000 an hour
  5. 4. How to work a tough room
  6. 5. Do not eat the microphone
    1. Photos you don’t expect to see
  7. 6. The science of not boring people
    1. Set the pace
    2. Direct the attention (“What am I looking at and why?”)
    3. Play the part: you’re the star
    4. Know what happens next
    5. Tension and release
    6. Get the audience involved
    7. You are judge, jury, and executioner
    8. Always end early
  8. 7. Lessons from my 15 minutes of fame
    1. We perform all the time
    2. Teleprompters (and memorization) are evil
  9. 8. The things people say
    1. The sneaky lessons of Dr. Fox
    2. Why most speaker evaluations are useless
    3. The speaker must match the audience
    4. Expert feedback you can get right now
  10. 9. The clutch is your friend
    1. Why teaching is almost impossible
    2. How to teach anyone anything
      1. Active and interesting
      2. Start with an insight of interest
      3. Adapt to how students respond
  11. 10. Confessions
    1. Backstage notes
  12. A. The little things pros do
    1. The confidence monitor
    2. The countdown timer
    3. The remote control
    4. Give stuff away to fill the front row
    5. Hide your microphone (and wear a collar)
    6. We don’t need no stinking badges
    7. Lectern vs. podium
    8. Work the camera
  13. B. How to make a point
    1. Being silent makes your points
  14. C. What to do if your talk sucks
    1. Why your talk might suck
      1. This is your first time
      2. You are a turtle on crack
      3. Obfuscation of fractured bilateral rhetoric
      4. You make sex boring
      5. Your slides make me hate you
      6. You are afraid of the crowd
    2. Medium list of little things
      1. Feedback you get for free
  15. D. What to do when things go wrong
    1. You’re being heckled
    2. Everyone is staring at their laptops
    3. Your time slot gets cut from 45 minutes to 10
    4. Everyone in the room hates you
    5. One guy won’t stop asking questions
    6. There is a rambling question that makes no sense and takes three minutes to ask
    7. You are asked an impossible question
    8. The microphone breaks
    9. Your laptop explodes
    10. There is a typo on your slide (nooooo!)
    11. You’re late for your own talk
    12. You feel sick
    13. You’re running out of time
    14. You left your slide deck at home
    15. Your hosts are control freaks
    16. You have a wardrobe malfunction
    17. There are only five people in the audience
    18. What to do if your situation is not here
  16. E. You can’t do worse than this
    1. Does anyone speak Georgian?
    2. What to do when the SWAT team comes
    3. A funny thing happened on my way to the stage
    4. Death by lecture
    5. CEO demo gone wrong
    6. Do not set anything on fire
    7. No one likes surprise porn
    8. I see sleeping people
    9. At worst we will shoot you
    10. Don’t blame the trains
    11. You work where?
    12. Watch your slides
    13. Why you don’t want to be up against Bono
    14. You will never speak of this to anyone
    15. Watch where you sit
    16. Please make a new talk and give it five minutes from now
    17. Check your mirror
    18. Waterproofing cannot save you
    19. Why you should not lecture in bars
  17. F. Research and recommendations
    1. Annotated bibliography
      1. How to get over fears and anxiety
      2. How to tell great stories
      3. How to teach
      4. Presentation design
    2. Studying comedians
      1. How to make a living as a public speaker
    3. Ranked bibliography
    4. Other research sources
  18. G. How to help this book: a request
  19. H. Acknowledgments
  20. I. Photo credits
  21. J.  
  22. Index
  23. About the Author
  24. Colophon
  25. Copyright

Product information

  • Title: Confessions of a Public Speaker
  • Author(s): Scott Berkun
  • Release date: November 2009
  • Publisher(s): O'Reilly Media, Inc.
  • ISBN: 9780596801991