Glossophobia is the fear of public speaking. Ranking number 13 amongst other popular phobias, it is more common than the fear of clowns, needles, and darkness. We might not all suffer from this phobia, but I’m sure there are times we still feel nervous and anxious when we have to face a big crowd or give a speech in front of a large audience. Yet public speaking is almost one of the most useful delivery tools in our lives.
Remember the times you had to present at school, or pitch a project in class?All these require a form of public speaking. Eventually when you move on to working life, chances are you would still have to speak in front of an audience whether it be in board meetings, office seminars or external presentations where you might need to pitch a proposal to clients. Public speaking is an important asset that we should all strive to achieve no matter how big your fears may be.
Here is a selection of 5 books that will help you through the anxiety, to excel in the public speaking arena.
TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking by Chris J. Anderson
There is no denying that (almost) all TED speakers are talented public speakers, and the man behind the TED curtain, who has worked with all these inspiring TED speakers, Chris Anderson has definitely challenged the public speaking game for short talks since his takeover in the early 2000s. The book explains how powerful public speeches are achieved, and equips you to master your next great public speaking stint.
“There is no formula; no two talks should be the same” as Chris pointed out there is no cookie cutter solution to the best short talk. The core takeaway from this book is about how public speaking is merely a channel to transfer your ideas to your audience’s minds.
Reading Duration: 5hrs 57mins
Get TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking from Amazon at $9.24
Slide: ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations by Nancy Duarte
Presentation slides/visual aids are one of the few elements that require professionals to think visually and leverage hard skills. But unlike verbal skills, effective visual expression is not actively taught in schools or business training programs.
This book is loaded with easy and practical examples of visual story development which can be used by anyone. It will not turn you into a designer overnight, but you will learn the basics of preparing visual aids for presentations. Be aware this is not a book for teaching you how to use keynote, but more of visual storytelling from a design perspective. Get hold of the book if you are someone who is constantly having to public speak, but has only one set of powerpoint templates.
Reading Duration: 6hrs 7mins
Get Slide: ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations from Amazon at $27.84
Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
Why is it that some people and organisations are more innovative and more profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty from customers?
Speaking just seems to be more desirable than listening, so how then can we get people to listen to us? This book offers comparisons and cases to learn from, as Sinek uses the Golden Circle theory of placing WHY at the core, followed by WHAT and HOW, arguing that we’d be better off if we focus more on the WHY as the golden circle suggest, because “People don’t buy WHAT you do, but WHY you do it”.
An important aspect of public speaking is in the persuasiveness of your speech, so if you need some tips on sharpening your sales pitch, check this read.
If you want to be inspired in a few minutes and catch the core of the book, watch Sinek’s TED talk about Starting with WHY:
Reading Duration: 5hrs 17mins
Get Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action from Amazon at $10.23
Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal by Oren Klaff
In the book Pitch Anything, Klaff argues that creating and presenting a great pitch is merely science, and describes how the brain makes decisions and responds to pitches with the back up of neuroscience. No matter whether you agree with his science method, some of his points are definitely solid, including setting the frame, great storytelling, and how to close a pitch. Expect this book to be your out-of-the-box read for an alternative view on pitching and public speaking.
Reading Duration: 4hrs 57mins
Get Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal from Amazon at $13.75
Do You Talk Funny? 7 Comedy Habits to Become a Better (and Funnier) Public Speaker by David Nihill
Humour can be one of the hardest-to-master elements in public speaking, to speak fluently and capturing the audience’s attention is already difficult, let alone adding humour into the equation.
In Do You Talk Funny, you can learn skills from comedians, and apply to your day-to-day speaking activities, levelling up your public speaking skills. Of course, what you say/tell is not the most important (because humans can only remember 7% of what others have said), Nihill also delivers advice on managing your crowd, time, the stage, interruptions, and the list goes on. Expect yourself to be a more effective and funny public speaker after a good read of this book!
Reading Duration: 4hrs 17mins
Get Do You Talk Funny? 7 Comedy Habits to Become a Better (and Funnier) Public Speaker from Amazon at $12.13