Good advice from the trenches of public speaking

Confessions of a Public Speaker, Berkun, Scott

Scott Berkun is an ex-software development manager from Microsoft who is in the midst of a transition from manager/geek to author/public speaker. So far, I’ve interacted with Scott in his writer persona and have yet to hear him deliver wearing his speaker hat. Based on Confessions of a Public Speaker I’d happily grab a seat at the front of the room.

Confessions combines tales from the trenches of public speaking with substantially more practical and useful advice than the average book on this topic. As someone who has also presented in front of audiences from ten to a thousand, i can attest that Scott’s advice is immensely relevant and highly pragmatic. What he is especially good in capturing are the emotional highs and lows of putting yourself in front of masses of strangers to inform (and possibly entertain) them. A couple of his chapter titles give you a sense for what you’ll find:

  • I can’t see you naked
  • How to work a tough room
  • Do not eat the microphone
  • The science of not boring people
  • The little things pros do
  • What to do if your talk sucks
  • What to do when things go wrong

Berkun’s advice is not theoretical. Nor is it dressed up. He opts to share his stories and tips in the bar after the gig. The stories are good. The advice is better.