Tuesday Morning Book Review || Confessions of a Public Speaker

This was really a fascinating read for anybody who preaches, Scott Berkun’s Confessions of a Public Speaker (kindle version).

While Berkun didn’t say a ton of things you won’t read in other books, it was a refreshing and hilarious read, while still being incredibly insightful for speakers. Berkun speaks for a living and has a ton of things preachers can learn from.

Here are a few of the things I learned:

  • As superficial as public speaking can seem, history bears out that people with clear ideas and strong points are the ones we remember.
  • Audiences, even tough crowds, genuinely want to help you, but no one in the audience can do anything about bad energy. Only two people in the room have that control: the host and the speaker.
  • Great speakers are connection-makers, sharing an authentic part of themselves to create a singular, positive experience for the audience.
  • All good public speaking is based on good private thinking.
  • All talks and presentations have a point of view, and you need to know what yours is. If you don’t know enough about the topic to have an opinion, solve that problem before you make your presentation.
  • Every point should be compressed into a single, tight, interesting sentence.
  • A mediocre presentation makes the points clear but muddles or bores people with the arguments. A truly bad presentation never clarifies what the points are.
  • People really want insight. They want an angle. A good speaker or teacher finds it for them.
  • If you’re too lazy to practice, expect your audience to be too lazy to follow.
  • Success often stems from the ability to make whatever medium you’re in feel like something simpler and often less formal. It’s the art of making the unnatural seem natural.
  • Any attention at all means you did something of value.
  • At the moment you open your mouth, you control how much energy you will give to your audience.
  • The more I seem to care, the more likely people in the audience will care as well.
  • “What effect do you want me to have on this audience?”,
  • If you are not excited and energetic about your message, how can you expect your audience to be?