Reading list: Public speaking

When you step onto a stage to speak, it’s a big deal.

Take your most important presentation and ramp it up by 100 and you’ve got a speaking opportunity.

Where does this amplification come from? Firstly, there’s the increased numbers in the audience often in their 10s, 100s or even 1000s. Then there’s the focus. It’s usually just on you, rather than there being a team of people presenting. These two factors alone can increase the pressure on even the most confident of presenters.

I’ve come across a number of useful books, articles and resources that have helped me when it comes to writing and delivering material on stage. Here’s a selection of my favourites:

Deep Work: Cal Newport: good on how to do the work on your speaking opportunity.

The Moth: 50 extraordinary true stories: at the heart of every speaking opportunity is your story and reading these may inspire you to find yours.

We, Me, them and It: John Simmons: every great speaking occasion begins with great writing. This book will show you how to find the writer in you.

Show and Tell: How everybody can make extraordinary presentations: Dan Roam: Particularly good on story lines and structure.

What actors can teach us about memory and learning: Annie Murphy Paul How actors learn their lines.

The Culture Map: Erin Meyer: Useful insights for speaking to an international audience.

The 100: Insights and Lessons from 110 of the greatest speakers and speeches ever delivered: Simon Maier and Jeremy Kourdi

Speech transitions: Magical words and phrases: Andrew Dlugan: useful phrases to help move your story along:

Learning is a learned behaviour: How to get better at it: Ulrich Bosser: getting comfortable with speaking is about learning to speak. And this in turn is about learning to learn.

What do you think? What has inspired you? What books would you add to this list? Let me know, I’d be pleased to hear from you. Or take a look at my other writing on the subject, here.

Thanks for reading.

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