Confessions of a Public Speaker – review

Confessions of a Public Speaker, by Scott Burken

When I received a copy, my initial reaction was that it was yet another publich speaking guide. Paging the book, I quickly realized that I was wrong. This books provides a very different perspective on public speaking, Written by somebody that clearly has experienced many hours on the stage, he not only gives the usual information that you would expect from such a book (how to structure your speech, using PowerPoint, body language etc), he also gives a huge amount of guidance on things that you only learn from experience, such as the easiest way to hook up a lapel microphone (unplug it, drop the cable through the inside of your shirt, and then reconnect it), how to full the front row (give stuff away), and how to use silence to make a point.

This book will help anybody interested in become a better public speaker, as well as those who are starting to do more than just the occasional presentation at work. It is loaded with tips and tricks that you only gain from experience on the road. It is written in a lighthearted manner, and is incredibly easy to read, the author has a quirky sense of humour, and he is happy to poke fun at himself. Chapter titles include “do not eat the microphone”, “the science of not boring people”, and “what to do if your talk sucks”. Even if you have been around for a while, you will still learn a trick or two from the book.

While there are many photos in the book, they are black and white, and are generally not very clear. However, you are not buying the book to look at the photos.

The book is easy reading, full of tips, and provides valuable advice to both the beginner and more experienced speaker; well worth reading.

You can buy the book from Amazon.com ($16.49), or find out more about Scott on his website

Thanks to the Folks at O’Reilly for the review copy.

Are you planning for the unexpected?

In the last month, two people that I know have lost substantial amounts of data that was stored on their laptops. The first was due to a laptop that was stolen at a conference, the second due to a drive failure. Both of them are experienced computer users, and both are educated about the importance of regular data backups.

Neither of them was keeping any backups. Why? Because they didn’t think that it would happen to them. They were taking a risk, and not expecting the unexpected. This doesn’t just happen to computers; it happens everywhere.

  • How long can you survive without a job until your car or house is taken away?
  • Are you keeping yourself competitive and employable?
  • Are you looking after your health?
  • Do you have an emergency fund?
  • Do you backup your computer?

What contingency plans do you have in place?