3 Great Books About Public Speaking

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Emily Wenstrom

Staff Writer

By day, Emily Wenstrom is a content marketing specialist. By early-early morning, she is E. J. Wenstorm, an award-winning sci-fi and fantasy author whose debut novel Mud was named 2016 Book of the Year by the Florida Writers Association.. Her Chronicles of the Third Realm War series includes Mud (#1), Tides (#2), Rain (#0), and more to come. Follow her on Twitter @ejwenstrom.

Thanks to my careers as an author and in the office, I find myself at the podium (or at least, at the front of the room) more and more frequently.

This is great, except…let’s remember that most people fear public speaking more than death. I am not an exception to this, nor is anything people-facing in my core wheelhouse of strengths.

However, I love the perks that come with public speaking: sharing my knowledge, making real connections with audience members, and the extra power boost it gives to my awkward networking efforts throughout the event.

And though I’m an introvert, I’m also very pragmatic and definitely not shy, so I don’t even mind being the center of attention if it’s bringing me closer to goals I care about.

But if I’m going to be the center of attention, I want to be really great at what I’m doing up there.

So I’ve made it my fall project to learn more about effective public speaking…the introvert way: by reading about it.

The trouble is, most books about public speaking look as boring as a textbook, and I don’t trust a presentation book that can’t even keep me entertained as a reader.

Luckily, I was able to dodge the droners and find a few inspiring titles to start my public speaking education. Here are three books about public speaking currently in my queue.

Talk Like TED by Carmine Gallo

If you’re going to learn about public speaking, the top-tier speaking platform of the modern consciousness seems like a great place to start.

This book outlines the top presentation behaviors of expert speakers, driven by the insights of public speaking coach Carmine Gallo and using TED’s most successful talks as examples.

It’s accessible, it’s quick, and it’s fun to dig deeper into everyone’s favorite TED talks from the perspective of their presentation craft.

Confessions of a Public Speaker

This one attracted my attention with its wit and practical approach. Where as Talk Like TED focuses on principles of compelling speech like “tell a story,” Confessions promises to get into nitty gritty tactics for common challenges like how to break a tough room.

Besides, it promises to share the author’s “real-life disasters,” and who doesn’t enjoy a story where an expert in something you suck at falls hard?

The Presentation Coach by Graham Davies

“You probably hate giving presentations,” the blurb for this book starts. And it’s spot-on. Clearly, this is the book for me.

In this book, author and speaking coach Graham Davies says the most important presentational tool is you, and the goal seems to be to make you sharpest tool for your presentations, too.

Seeing as that’s the one part of any presentation that can’t be lost, malfunction, or otherwise turn against you in crunch time, I find this an excellent idea.

What are your favorite books about public speaking?