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Confessions of a Public Speaker [Kindle Edition]

Scott Berkun
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (232 customer reviews)

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  • Print ISBN-10: 0596801998
  • Print ISBN-13: 978-0596801991
  • Edition: 1
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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.



Editorial Reviews

Review


"For those that are contemplating public speaking, or want to improve their current aptitude, it is impossible that after reading the book, that they won't be a better speaker. For those that simply want to know what goes into, and what makes a really good presentation, Confessions of a Public Speaker is also a worthwhile book to read."
--Ben Rothke, Slashdot.org

"I've seen Scott speak a few times before, and he knows his stuff. Add to this his sense of humor, plus the fact that pretty much everyone can stand to learn some new ideas about speaking, and this book is a MUST for your collection."
--Chris Brogan, ChrisBrogan.com

"Loved it! This is a very informative and entertaining look at the important art of public speaking. Anyone who speaks for a living- including teachers - will greatly benefit from this book."
--Garr Reynolds, Author of Presentation Zen

"Your next talk will be ten times better if you read this book first."
--Gina Trapani, founding editor of Lifehacker.com

"With tips on how to combat pre-speech butterflies, battling the "tough room" and how not to bore people silly, this book will ensure your next Powerpoint will be a success."
--John Baichtal, Wired

"Even if you prepare well and avoid disaster, of course, you may not charm everyone in the audience. But you can at least--with Mr. Berkun's help--avoid being cripplingly nervous before that brown-bag presentation and wishing it were tomorrow."
--Philip Delves Broughton, The Wall Street Journal

"Smart, funny, and provocative, Scott Berkun's Confessions puts an very modern and wholly relevant spin on the fine art of public speaking."
--Suzy Welch, best-selling author and public speaker

"Scott Berkun tells it like it is. Whether you're speaking to 10 people or 1000 people, you will gain insights to take your presentation skills to the next level. It's a rare book that will make you think AND laugh."
--Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos.com

"Part confessional, part "how-to," this entertaining book is a godsend for anyone who would rather have an appendectomy without anesthetic than address a group in public."
--Virginia Backaitis, The New York Post


Review


"For those that are contemplating public speaking, or want to improve their current aptitude, it is impossible that after reading the book, that they won't be a better speaker. For those that simply want to know what goes into, and what makes a really good presentation, Confessions of a Public Speaker is also a worthwhile book to read."
--Ben Rothke, Slashdot.org

"I've seen Scott speak a few times before, and he knows his stuff. Add to this his sense of humor, plus the fact that pretty much everyone can stand to learn some new ideas about speaking, and this book is a MUST for your collection."
--Chris Brogan, ChrisBrogan.com

"Loved it! This is a very informative and entertaining look at the important art of public speaking. Anyone who speaks for a living- including teachers - will greatly benefit from this book."
--Garr Reynolds, Author of Presentation Zen

"Your next talk will be ten times better if you read this book first."
--Gina Trapani, founding editor of Lifehacker.com

"With tips on how to combat pre-speech butterflies, battling the "tough room" and how not to bore people silly, this book will ensure your next Powerpoint will be a success."
--John Baichtal, Wired

"Even if you prepare well and avoid disaster, of course, you may not charm everyone in the audience. But you can at least--with Mr. Berkun's help--avoid being cripplingly nervous before that brown-bag presentation and wishing it were tomorrow."
--Philip Delves Broughton, The Wall Street Journal

"Smart, funny, and provocative, Scott Berkun's Confessions puts an very modern and wholly relevant spin on the fine art of public speaking."
--Suzy Welch, best-selling author and public speaker

"Scott Berkun tells it like it is. Whether you're speaking to 10 people or 1000 people, you will gain insights to take your presentation skills to the next level. It's a rare book that will make you think AND laugh."
--Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos.com

"Part confessional, part "how-to," this entertaining book is a godsend for anyone who would rather have an appendectomy without anesthetic than address a group in public."
--Virginia Backaitis, The New York Post



Product Details

  • File Size: 3560 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (October 20, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002VL1CGM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,540 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
133 of 136 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nails it... November 27, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
After grinding through far too many books on "how-to-present-better" books, I've finally found one that exceeds the promise. Scott Berkun, a former Microsoft executive who turned writer and professional speaker, practices what he preaches in his book.

* This book is written for anyone who has to give presentations (public speakers, managers, teachers) - it will benefit novices to veterans - and readers in all for-profit and not-for profit industries.

* This is a quick read - can be read in 1 or 2 sittings

* This is a page turning "how to" book

* It is written in a conversational tone packaged with excellent stories, persuasive tips, good research and "rhythmic" pace

* Author is informed via real world experiences - he is honest, humble and straightforward.

* He shares many usable tips and Do's and Don'ts that will stick (e.g. ask smaller than expected crowd to move up and dense-up; lose your content, ask audience for 10 topics they would like you to address; grab them early with a meaningful title for your presentation)

* Finally, a readable how-to book that delivers as promised...highly recommended.

* Some of my favorite excerpts include:

"...when 100 people are listening to you for an hour, that's 100 hours of people's time devoted to what you have to say. If you can't spend 5 or 10 hours preparing for them, thinking about them, and refining your points to best suit their needs, what does that say about your respect for your audience's time? It says that your 5 hours are more important than 100 of theirs, which requires an ego larger than the entire solar system. And there is no doubt this disrespect will be obvious once you are on the stage.
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97 of 102 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Incorrectly titled and interesting in parts March 23, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'll preface this review by saying I read this as part of a book group. I was told that although it was a public speaking aid, it was in itself a piece of entertainment. This review is based on the Kindle version.

Scott Berkun launches into Confessions of a Public Speaker at great speed with a hugely entertaining chapter on why public speaking really isn't as scary as we say it is. Using stats and surveys to prove that you really wouldn't "rather die than speak in public". Multiple times I was given strange glances by my significant other due to my laughing out loud.

By Chapter 4 I found I was no longer laughing. The entertainment factor had gone. It was no longer the advertised "... unique, entertaining, and instructional romp through the embarrassments and triumphs Scott has experienced over 15 years of speaking...". It was at this point that I felt `Confessions of a Public Speaker' may be an incorrect title, it had become a run-of-the-mill public speaking how-to guide. The advice was practical and I did take away many hints I can use, but much of it was common sense, strung out as far a possible to fill out an entire book.

One third of the book is made up of appendicies. These appendices are generally just repeats of the main segment. Ironically Scott teaches you to not waste your audience's time. Treat them with respect and keep them interested with important information they want to know. So to have one appendix focus on how many m&m's he ate while writing the book made me wonder if he practiced what he preached. The actual section containing real confessions of public speakers is also relegated to an appendix, again making me wonder if this is the correct title.
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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
While there is a plethora of books such as Public Speaking for Dummies, and many similar titles; Confessions of a Public Speaker is unique in that it takes a holistic approach to the art and science of public speaking. The books doesn't just provide helpful hints, it attempts to make the speaker, and their associated presentation, compelling and necessary. Confessions is Scott Berkun's first-hand account of his many years of public speaking, teaching and television appearances. In the book, he shares his successes, failures, and many frustrating experiences, in the hope that the reader will be a better speaker for it.

An issue with many books on public speaking is that they focus on the mechanics of public speaking. While there is nothing necessarily wrong with that approach, Confessions takes a much deeper and analytical look at public speaking. The book demonstrates that the best public speakers are not simply people with fancy PowerPoint's; rather they are excellent communicators with a strong message.

While other books focus and stress the importance of creating good PowerPoint's, Confessions shows how one can rise above the PowerPoint and be a presenter of ideas to the audience. Such an approach can take a dry presentation and turn it into a compelling one.

Berkun notes that while many people perceive public speaking to be a terrifying experience, the reality is that it does not have to be so petrifying. With fundamental preparations, even the most timid person can be a public speaker. While such a person will never be a speaker at the caliber of a Steve Jobs, there is no reason they can't present an enjoyable and educating presentation.

The book is loaded with chapter after chapter of practical advice.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Love the stories and personal feel of this book. I'm not planning on public speaking, actually avoid it as much as I can, but feel like I can use many examples to help if I need... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Blake J. Facey
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good material in good condition
Published 1 month ago by femi emmanuel
4.0 out of 5 stars A book filled with great pointers
As a you professional you will find that you are required to speak at different events or give presentations to your leadership and you will want to be prepared. Read more
Published 1 month ago by C. DeHart
5.0 out of 5 stars If you're looking for refreshing thought-provoking ideas about public...
If you're looking for refreshing thought-provoking ideas about public speaking or even want to review some of those you already know, this book is the place to start. Dr. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amron
5.0 out of 5 stars This one is one of the best. Scott Berkun's informal
I teach public speaking at a local university. So, I pick up speech-writing and public speaking books often. This one is one of the best. Read more
Published 2 months ago by J. McNabb
2.0 out of 5 stars Heavy on being a fun, cool read, light on take aways
Having seen this book recommended on a blog by a young professor, I started out with high hopes. The many good reviews set my hopes even higher. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Indila
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great read. Prepared me very well for my first speaking gig!
Published 3 months ago by Lover of Amazon - Occasional Reviewer
5.0 out of 5 stars A review for aspiring Public Speakers from an aspiring Public Speaker
I purchased Confessions of a Public Speaker by recommendation of a friend who thought I might like it because one of my dreams is to be a public speaker. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Davis
4.0 out of 5 stars A great book to get started
As a college student when you are asked to speak at different events, you want to be prepared. This book really helped me get in the right mindset as a speaker, and helped me... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Ethan Brown
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful thoughts and perspective
Scott has demonstrated in simple , practical yet profound style of excelling in the art of public speaking that even a minion can borrow from. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Lennox Adundo
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More About the Author

Scott Berkun (@berkun) is the best selling author of four books, Making Things Happen, The Myths of Innovation, Confessions of a Public Speaker and Mindfire Big Ideas for Curious Minds. His work has appeared in the The Washington Post, The New York Times, Wired Magazine, Fast Company, The Economist, Forbes Magazine, and other media. He has taught creative thinking at the University of Washington and has been a regular commentator on CNBC, MSNBC and National Public Radio. His many popular essays and entertaining lectures can be found for free on his blog at http://www.scottberkun.com.

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