Read these books to improve your public speaking
Do your presentation skills need some work? Think of this list as your syllabus to becoming a TED talk–worthy public speaker.
Regardless of what industry you’re in, as your responsibilities increase, so do your opportunities for public speaking.
In addition to sharing work with clients, you may find yourself presenting to board members, speaking at conferences, delivering a keynote, or even speaking to the media. And while these may become new job requirements, they may not be skills you’ve trained for.
Fear not. Aside from taking public speaking classes and practicing speaking in public, there are books on public speaking that can help you become the kind of confident and persuasive employee that companies crave—and want to have representing their brand.
Monster spoke with several experts to find books that offer public speaking tips that address a variety of common challenges, and the types of situations you may need to prepare for. Pair one of these books with plenty of practice and you’ll be set—whether you’re talking in front of a group of investors or delivering a keynote. Because after all, speaking effectively and confidently can help advance your career, whether you’re happy in your current role or searching for your next job on Monster.
Best for boosting self-confidence
“In my work with clients around public speaking, I have seen a common theme of self-doubt. I've seen clients express that they don't believe in their own skills and abilities and view their skills or abilities as less than their peers. Sincero's book takes a direct approach to the self-doubt that is holding people back from speaking up, presenting, and sharing their talents with the world. Bonus: It's motivating, funny, and easy to relate to.”
— Christie Hays, MA, LPC, a counselor and coach with Wolfgang Career Coaching in Austin, Texas
Best for adding humor
Doug Stevenson's Story Theater Method by Doug Stevenson and Sam Horn
“At the heart of many great presentations—even business talks—are stories, especially personal stories. Many speakers feel ‘story challenged.’ They particularly struggle with how to be humorous. Doug Stevenson is excellent at helping people develop their stories and ‘find their funny.’”
— Don Maruska, a business coach based in Morro Bay, California, and author of How Great Decisions Get Made.
Best for conquering stage fright
"This book is helpful because it’s not written by some naturally gifted presenter. It’s written by someone who has been where the reader has been: someone who did everything wrong before getting better as a presenter. Knowing that the author is 'one of us regular folks' and has experienced our fears and has made all the mistakes we have takes away the intimidation that often comes with reading a book by an 'expert.'"
— Bill Treasurer, chief encouragement officer at Giant Leap Consulting in Asheville, North Carolina
Best for Apple lovers
“In any presentation, a picture (or a good example) paints a thousand words. And using Steve Jobs as the ‘picture’ to illustrate the key concepts is highly effective. It makes the learning stick. It’s so easy to go to YouTube, watch a video of one of Jobs’ presentations, and see all the points come to life.”
— Rob Hellman, president of New York City-based Hellman Career Consulting and author of Peak Presentations
Best for calming pre-speech nerves
The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
“This book is all about visualizing one's success, and the power of what is called the ‘law of attraction.’ In this case, it's the idea that if executives constantly focus on being bad public speakers and how nervous they are, they will always be nervous when they speak.”
— Kate Lupo, a public speaking and visibility coach in New York City
Best for those suffering from impostor syndrome
“Cuddy describes how making even minor adjustments to your non-verbal communication, including your posture, gestures, tone of voice, and facial expressions, can significantly enhance your confidence, impact, and influence. The notion that you can ‘fake it until you make it’ truly works; as you convince yourself that you are in control of your thoughts, moods, and behaviors (including your non-verbal communication), you actually shift into the driver’s seat.”
— Jody Michael, Chicago-based executive coach
Best for perfecting a short presentation
“Audiences want short, compelling presentations. In fact, some conferences now include opportunities for presenters to give 15-to-20-minute talks. Carmine Gallo understands this medium and how to deliver.”