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Book Review: Confessions of a Public Speaker by Scott Berkun

Public speaking is often listed as one of people's worst fears, but Scott Berkun's new book is packed full of advice that would help even the most nervous of public speakers overcome their anxiety.

Quite simply this is the best book on public speaking I have ever read.

Written in a friendly, confident and funny way the book combines practical advice, anecdotes and photographs that cover every aspect of speaking in public. From preparation and planning to setting up the room and dealing with hecklers the book covers everything you need to know on planning and delivering presentations.

Whenever I read a book I mark interesting pages/passages and by the time I'd finished this book the book was full of turned pages that I will go back to!

One of my favourite chapters goes through preparing a fictional talk on cheese. It is great to follow Scott's thinking of how he approaches a talk, plans what he is going to say and how to come up with a winning title.

I think the key lesson is one that I've learnt the hard way (I'll save the story of my first ever public talk for another time) - the only way you'll give an interesting and well received talk is to prepare, plan and practice, practice, practice. That may not sound like rocket science, but it is amazing how many presenters don't do this. 

The book also contains a great section on research and recommended further reading and I've already downloaded a number of articles from Scott's blog.

I appreciate that this seems a bit of a gushing review. I usually like to include some constructive criticism, but the only thing I can think of is that it would have been good for them to include colour photos rather than black and white.

Whether you are seasoned presenter or have to do a presentation for the first time then I'm confident that this book contains something for everyone.

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