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Scott Berkun’s Confessions of a Public Speaker is a practical and hilarious book that presents these powerful and evidence-based techniques that many people can borrow to share ideas with others and eventually become great communicators: continuous improvement, efficient preparation, practice, and getting timely feedback.

Confessions of a Public Speaker

Confessions of a Public Speaker

by Scott Berkun


1.82K reads


If you’d like to be good at something, the first thing to go out the window is the notion of perfection.

Your Response

Know that your response to a mistake defines the audience’s response.

If you respond to spilling water on your pants as if it were the sinking of the Titanic, the audience will see it, and you, as a tragedy. But if you're cool, or better yet, find it funny, the audience will do the sa...

It’s often the case that the things speakers obsess about are the opposite of what the audience cares about. They want to be entertained. They want to learn. And most of all, they want you to do well.

Many mistakes you can make while performing do not ...

If you pretend to have no fear of public speaking, you deny yourself the natural energy your body is giving you. Anxiety creates a kind of energy you can use, just as excitement does.

Ian Tyson, a stand-up comedian and motivational speaker, offered this gem of advice:...


I don’t practice to make perfect, and I don’t memorize. If I did either, I’d sound like a robot, or worse, like a person trying very hard to say things in an exact, specific, and entirely unnatural style, which people can spot a mile away. My intent is simply to know my material so well that I’m ...

  • Getting to the venue early so you don’t have to rush
  • Doing tech and sound rehearsal well before your start time
  • Walking around the stage so your body feels safe in the room
  • Sitting in the audience so you have a physical sense of what they will see
  • Eating ...

We can minimize most of these fears by realizing that we speak in public all the time.

You’re already good at public speaking — the average person says 15,000 words a day.

People come because they:

  • Want to learn something
  • Wish to be inspired
  • Hope to be entertained
  • Have a need they hope you will satisfy
  • Desire to meet other people interested in the subject
  • Seek a positive experience they can share with others...

You can say, “I have 30 minutes to talk to you, and five points to make. I will spend five minutes on each point and save the remaining time for any questions.”

That takes about ten seconds to say, but for that small price, you continue to own the attention of the room because the...

Get the audience involved:

  • Ask for a show of hands.
  • Quiz them with trivia.
  • Give them a problem to solve.

When you enforce a popular rule, you re-engage everyone who supports that rule. You restore your power and earn the audience’s respect. So, don’t h...

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