Let’s be honest: public speaking is difficult. Your palms grow sweaty, feet keep tapping, and your incredibly dry mouth tries to stumble through your speech. You just want to get it over and done, while a million eyes glare at you.
And now, during the pandemic, the idea of public speaking has changed forever; with working from home on the rise, your age-old presentation script has been well and truly flipped. As the virtual office overtakes the physical, more of us are struggling to speak up during online meetings, with a whopping 45% of women finding it difficult to find their voice in these cyberspaces.
Although most people are more afraid of speaking in public than death, it doesn’t have to be scary. While most tips are to ‘picture the audience naked’ and aren’t that constructive, these 5 books can help you revolutionise the way you speak both in person and online.
How to Own the Room by Viv Groskop
Writer and Comedian Viv Groskop’s book, How to Own the Room, is an empowering and insightful look into the art of public speaking. With no ‘one way’ to give a speech, Groskop offers you tips and tricks to help you help yourself. With homework set after each chapter, this insightful and inspiring book gives you the right tools in how to proactively change your approach to speaking.
Groskop also has a spin off podcast based on this series, and during the pandemic released an episode titled ‘How to own the Zoom’. It’s filled with tonnes of hacks to help you feel more confident giving virtual presentations.
Goodbye Glossophobia: Banish Your Fear of Public Speaking by Esther Stanhope
Ester Stanhope was just like you — nervous, nauseated, and needed to finish her speech as fast as physically possible. But now, she speaks to audiences all over the world, delivering powerful presentations on a daily basis.
Packed with real life tips to help you both on and offline, this book isn’t just for people who get nervous speaking in front of an audience, but for anyone who wants to boost their presentation skills and elevate their performance. From real techniques to calm you down to tips to help you make a lasting impression with a crowd, Stanhope’s book is a must read for any professional.
How Your Story Sets You Free by Heather Box & Julien Mocine-McQueen
Box and Mocine-McQueen, the founders of the Million Person Project and writers of How Your Story Sets You Free, believe that the key to giving a brilliant speech is by telling a story instead. The one thing we all ‘connect’ to is stories; they are the fundamental difference between talking with someone and telling someone something. Making it authentic and personalised to the topic, the duo give you all the helpful hints you’ll need to spin speech into a story, allowing you to become more confident with your words both online and in person.
Stand, Speak, Deliver!: How to Survive and Thrive in Public Speaking and Presenting by Vaughan Evans
If you’re looking to mix up your style, then Stand, Speak, Deliver! Is the perfect book for you. With 37 short speeches, Vaughan Evans presents you with the fool-proof blueprints for a perfect presentation both on and offline. With each chapter focusing on one facet of speech, Evans guides you on how to control your eyes, body, and voice in order to give an empowering presentation to wow your boss.
Speak With No Fear: go from a nervous, nauseated, and sweaty speaker to an excited, energised, and passionate presenter by Mike Acker
Are you sick of comparing yourself to a TED presenter? Mike Acker’s Speak With No Fear offers you ‘The Seven Strategies’ to overcome your fear of public speaking, whether that be in person or online.
Helping you to identify the root causes for your fear and overcome them, this book can transform you from a scared speaker to a professional presenter with its real-life motivational stories and mindful tips.
Taking the IRL to the URL
While the majority of these books have a real world focus, it doesn’t mean they’re any less valid in these unprecedented times. Whether you’re working from home or in the office, the ability to hold any room is key to not only getting your opinions heard, but also becoming a valued member of any team. Now more than ever, the ability to get our points across clearly and concisely is essential.
Although presentations do take a lot of practice, they also have a range of mental barriers you need to overcome. So, by reading around the topic and becoming aware of your strengths, weaknesses and different techniques, you can learn to own the virtual room. In these books, you’re not only helping yourself to become more confident, but your team too.
Written by Alison Irlam
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