I have recently finished reading the Scott Berkun book Confessions of a Public Speaker and I think it should be compulsory reading for everyone, especially if you speak to groups of people.
People who will find the book especially useful are not just teachers or lecturers, but anyone who gives any type of performance; actors, magicians, storytellers, tour guides. I wish I had read it while I was still leading ghost tours.
Scott Berkun is a professional speaker who has had many articles published in top publications such as Wired Magazine, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. In this book, he reveals the secrets of successful public speaking all beautifully illustrated with real life stories and anecdotes. He gives tips on how to properly prepare for a presentation and how to adapt your presentation on-the-fly if the technology fails you, or you don’t get many “bums on seats”.
The final section of the book has confessions from other public speakers about speeches they gave where their preparation failed them and everything went wrong. I could add lots of examples from my own presentations, from trying to explain the inticracies of the National Covenant in Greyfriars Kirkyard while the ‘Three Tenors’ were performing outdoors at the castle above me. Or the time I stepped backwards out of the final tomb at the end of the tour, tripping on my black leather trench-coat and landing arse first in the muddy puddle behind me.
The book is fantastic – great advice about what your audience is likely to be expecting, and how they feel about being part of an audience which will help you see your presentation from a different point of view. If you purchase the book from Amazon through the link below, I get a small cut from Amazon. Thanks.