If you want to be the best public speaker that you can be, you’re going to want to learn from as many different sources as possible. The more you can broaden your learning, the better your public speaking skills will be.
Lessons are available everywhere, whether we’re watching the news and taking note of the tricks that politicians use or whether we’re explaining something to a friend and using it as an excuse to practice the rule of three.
We can also study various techniques used for successful speeches, from rhetorical devices or emotional appeals to satire. Satirical speeches are often heard in different fields and it is this technique that public speaking schools devote much time to.
But even with all of these different learning opportunities available to us, we shouldn’t forget about how useful books can be. That’s why in today’s article, we’re going to be taking a look at ten of the best of them. Let’s jump in and get started!
1. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
This book isn’t necessarily about public speaking, but it is all about communication and finding ways to forge new relationships. Tips include remembering and using people’s names, which Carnegie says is the sweetest sound in any language. It’s such an important and influential book that every businessperson should read it, whether they’re public speakers or not.
2. Talk Like Ted by Carmine Gallo
Broken down into nine easy-to-remember lessons, Gallo’s entry in this list is designed to give you the public speaking techniques that have worked for some of the world’s most influential people. As you can guess from the title, it focuses specifically on Ted Talks and what’s worked for people who have delivered memorable talks.
3. Speak with No Fear by Mike Acker
The idea behind this one is to provide people with the actionable tips and advice that they need to overcome public speaking anxiety and to deliver a killer presentation. It’s actually part of a three-book series that also covers leadership and culminates in a workbook, but it’s really just this one particular book that’s worth picking up for speakers.
4. Confessions of a Public Speaker by Scott Berkun
If you learn best with a healthy dose of humor, you’re going to like this one. Written by professional public speaker Scott Berkun, it shares the secrets of great communicators and contains a whole bunch of entertaining stories and anecdotes. It’s an easy read with a lot of great advice, including some fantastic lessons on the art of persuasion that you’ll be able to put to good use in all of your future speaking gigs.
5. Do You Talk Funny? by David Nihill
On the subject of humor, we’d be crazy to miss this one. The book starts out with an interesting concept, which is that author David Nihill decided to face his fear of public speaking by pretending to be a comedian called Irish Dave, taking his act on the road and performing at festivals and comedy clubs. His book covers what happened along this journey, along with the important lessons that he learned along the way.
6. Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln by James C. Humes
This book is mostly suited to people who learn best by emulating other successful speakers and who are fascinated by history. Author James C. Humes has written speeches for five different American presidents, and inside the pages of his book, he covers the lessons that he’s learned along the way. Expect to learn from masters of oratory like Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Napoleon Bonaparte, as well as Churchill and Lincoln.
7. The Elements of Eloquence by Mark Forsyth
This easy-to-read book is broken down into bite-sized chunks and includes 39 chapters on a range of different techniques and tricks that can be used for effective rhetoric. This includes chapters on everything from alliteration and antithesis to merism, hendiadys and epistrophe. Don’t worry, though – you don’t need to remember the names to benefit from the techniques.
8. Peoplewatching by Desmond Morris
Peoplewatching is a must-read for any public speaker because it looks at body language, behavior and habits, areas that speakers too often forget about. Desmond Morris’s book takes an in-depth look at what we can learn from the way that people move. You can also learn how to better use your own body language to accentuate your message.
9. Storynomics by Robert McKee
Storynomics is designed primarily for marketers and is designed to help people to use story-driven marketing to sell their products and services. Public speakers can learn from this one because in the age of personal branding, we’re all marketers. As speakers, we can benefit from telling our stories to help us to stand out from the competition in a competitive marketplace. Storynomics might not help you to deliver your message when you take to the stage, but it will help you to pick up speaking gigs in the first place.
10. The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler
As the name suggests, The Writer’s Journey is designed for writers and not for speakers, but there’s plenty you can take away from this book and adapt for your speaking gigs. The book basically covers how to tell a decent story, using examples from well-known movies like Star Wars and Pulp Fiction, and you can take the lessons that it has to offer and use them to better structure your presentations.
Now that you know our recommended top public speaking books that can help you on your journey, it’s over to you. Spend some time checking out reviews for each of the books that we’ve listed and consider buying a couple of them and giving them a read.
As always, we’d love to hear from you, so be sure to take a moment to share a few of your favorite public speaking books in the comments so that we can check them out too. You can also follow us on your social networking site of choice for further updates. We’ll see you soon!