Confessions of a Public Speaker

I have to say it was Scott Berkun’s title that caught my eye – Confessions of a Public Speaker. Then when I watched his video from Ignite , I discovered that Scott’s sense of humour was a classic!

Scott's book

Scott Berkun is only in his late 30s yet has been speaking for 15 years so has many tales to tell. He’s done all forms of public speaking – TV and radio interviews, lectures, you tube videos, conferences and live comedy.  Plus he usually earns $5000 per hour for the privilege.

For me, the two most valuable parts of the book, as indicated by my dog eared pages & notes in my iPhone are:

#1: Getting people to sit up the front (see page 49) .  If the audience is scattered up the back, it really sucks the energy out of the room.  Scott has a counter-attack for this but warns that we are a lazy species, so…

Make it a game. Offer a prize to the first person who gets up first. Ask the audience members if they need exercise today & when they raise their hand (people who go to lectures & conferences always crave exercise) tell them you have just the right thing for them to do!

#2: Getting constructive feedback (see page 120-121). Since most people avoid conflict they’ll say, “you did really well!”  What you also need to ask are these questions:

  • How did my presentation compare to others?
  • What one change would’ve most improved my presentation?
  • What questions did you expect me to answer that I didn’t?
  • What annoyances did I let get in the way of delivering what you needed?
  • Was this a good use of your time?
  • Would you recommend this presentation to a friend?
  • Are you considering doing anything differently as a result of this talk?

However the two best ways to tell if you did a good job, according to Scott Berkun are:

  1. Video tape yourself – practicing & delivering – your talk.  Since you are hardest judge of yourself, you can pick up things that most people would be too polite to tell you!
  2. See if you are invited back to speak by the event organiser.

Scott Berkun.

The book is hilarious & very practical. It is complete with plenty of pics so you really get a sense of what Scott goes through.

You can follow @Berkun on twitter, read his blog, check out the Speaker Confessions website.

Photo credit: Strandell (Flickr)

Conference Speakers Brisbane: If you’re looking a speaker like Scott, but don’t have a spare $5000, try myself or Toby Jenkins.  Call 1300 258 394 for more.

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