Article Category: Resources for Speakers

Contest: Win a Book by Recommending a Book

Whenever my friends and family ask me what I want for Christmas or birthday gifts, I always start with my book wishlist.

As I work on this year’s list, you might guess that many public speaking and presentation skills books are included. You are right!

I’m going to post my my personal public speaking gift wishlist and recommendations in an article next week, but I’d like your help too. And, I’m going to reward a Six Minutes reader with a great public speaking book.

Here’s How You Can Win

  1. Add a comment to this article.
  2. Recommend one or more of the best books you’ve read on public speaking, presentation skills, or related fields (e.g. visual thinking).
    • Be sure to include the title, author, and why the book should be read by public speakers.
    • You are welcome to recommend books you have written, but you must recommend someone else’s book to win the contest.
  3. Include your email address (only viewable by me) so that I can contact the winner.
  4. Add your comment before 11:59 p.m. (Pacific time), Sunday, November 23rd, 2008.

After the contest closes:

  • One Six Minutes reader who made a book recommendation will be randomly selected from all entries, and they will win their choice of any book which I have reviewed this year.
  • All recommendations will be compiled into a Six Minutes Audience Recommendations list to appear in a future article.

Help your fellow Six Minutes readers pad their own Christmas wish lists with great public speaking book recommendations.

Get your contest entry in today!

Note: Browse the reader recommended public speaking books.

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  1. Hello,

    Here is my pick : Life’s a Pitch by Stephen Bayley and Roger Mavity

    The main argument is that every opportunity involves pitching and that you have to present to get what you want.
    The book gives a lot of tips and techniques for doing it better and get ahead in life.

    This is a nice read for public speakers who try to improve their skills (and everyone should try).


  2. Here are three books that I have actually loved on this very subject:

    1. Communicating for a Change: Seven Keys to Irresistible Communication by Andy Stanley and Lane Jones. This book helps to take the challenge that pastors/ preachers have with communicating their message in today’s society and context. This book gives pastors/ preachers/ and speakers a way to make their talks simplistic in how to get their message across.

    2. Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds. This book is great because to me it shows the way to communicate your message simplistically. And really challenges the way presentations have always been done.

    3. Slide:ology by Nancy Duarte. I recommend this book because it is the nuts and bolts of how to put Presentation Zen into practice.


  3. Irv says:

    I still go back to a classic: The Elements of Speechwriting and Public Speaking by Jeff Cook. Some parts might be dated, but the range of topics (audience analysis, effective use of notes, etc.) serves both beginners and experienced speakers and speech writers.

  4. TJ says:

    I’ve read many of the currently popular books including Presentation Zen, Slide:ology, and Beyond Bullet Points, however they are not my favorites. I particularly like the following.

    Moving Mountains (Boettinger) was originally published in 1969, but don’t dismiss it because of its age. Many recent books draw heavily of Boettinger’s lessons.

    Presenting to Win (Weissman) is very good at supporting the creation of sales presentations and the like. I particularly like the coverage of different organizational flows.

    Made to Stick (Heath and Heath) is not technically a speaking skills book but it is full of great insights into how we can get and maintain attention, make our messages memorable, and avoid overwhelming the audience with detail and jargon (the Curse of Knowledge).

  5. Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln, by James C. Humes, is a great little book filled with pithy advice on various presentation techniques. Humes draws on his experiences as a presidential speech writer to share amusing and useful anecdotes about the presentation styles of famous political figures from Napoleon to Ronald Reagan. Great book to grab as a quick refresher or to get new ideas.

  6. WOW – what a fantastic idea – I really like it! Can’t wait to send my suggestions!

  7. OK – Found one!
    The Nuts and Bolts of Public Speaking – Practical Tools for Powerful Presentations by Craig Valentine, MBA

    Craig knows how to create simple formulas and this book is an easy “know how” guide to help you with public speaking skills and success.

  8. Maggie Shriver says:

    I have three recommendations which are all great speechwriting books:

    1. How to Write and Give a Speech by Joan Detz

    2. On Speaking Well by Peggy Noonan (a presidential speechwriter)

    3. The Elements of Speechwriting and Public Speaking by Jeff Scott Cook

  9. Munish says:

    Speak Like Churchill stand like Lincoln.

    I liked this book by James Humes, because of details there are in the book: about Power Word, Power Quote, and how Churchill used to read and made it look like it is just a glance.

    It also tells about humor and poetry license.

    Also how a story can be used effectively in a speech.
    Many techniques of Martin Luther King and Lincoln are also explained.

    If you want to read only one book about public speaking, this is the one.

  10. I want to recommend two books:

    1. The Non-Designer’s Design Book by Robin Williams.
    2. The Visual Story by Bruce Block.

    The first book teaches us basic elements of typographic design and the second one teaches us concepts about the creation of visual stories.
    Both book are easy to read for beginners.

  11. Art Johnson says:

    Previously mentioned “Slide:ology” and “Presentation Zen” have to be on everyone’s must read list, but someone reminded me that Bert Decker’s classic “You’ve Got to be Believed to be Heard” has just been reissued. Even though the original is on my bookshelf, I’ve put the revised and updated release at the top of my Christmas reading list. Bert has a very practical approach to connecting with the audience, and I strongly recommend his book.

    I noticed another favorite of mine recommended that deserves support. I love Jerry Weissman’s “Presenting to Win“. In addition to being a fine book on presenting, the book has an excellent section on cataloging different ways to organize a presentation.

  12. Bob Swill says:

    My recommendation for you is The Back of the Napkin by Dan Roam.

    It is simple, and advocates a type of visual communication that even I (a non-artist) can master.

  13. Gopinath says:

    My Recommendation:
    Title –
    Lend Me Your Ears : All You Need to Know about Making Speeches and Presentations
    Author: Max Atkinson
    Published: 2004
    Publisher: Oxford University Press
    This book is divided into 5 parts.
    Part I: The Language of Public Speaking (3 Chapters), explains how public speaking differs from normal conversation and how to keep the audience engaged.
    Part II: Visual Aids and Verbal Crutches (2 Chapters) , gives tips on how to make effective use of visual aids
    Part III: Winning with Words (2 Chapters), provides lessons in rhetorical techniques and using imagery and anecdotes in speeches.
    Part IV: Putting Principles into Practice (3 Chapters), is about structuring and preparing your speech and delivering it on different occasions viz. Political speech, Business presentation, Social speech,
    Part V: Body Language and Speech (2 Chapters) , deals with facts and myths regarding body language.

    A very well written book – simple language with lots of examples and ample doses of humor (especially the Introduction chapter where the author describes the way most speakers struggle with OHP transparencies and Powerpoint slides); practical and easily implementable techniques; succinct summary of key points at the end of each chapter; exercises after every part.
    I think this book will be an excellent tool for preparing my Toastmaster project speeches, especially the chapter on rhetorical techniques. I was never a fan of rhetorical speeches, having the view that the more naturally you speak more effective you are. However this book has toned down my bias against rhetoric and has convinced me that some use of rhetoric is necessary to hold the attention of your audience.
    I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in improving his public speaking skills.

  14. Gene Grindle says:

    “On Speaking Well” by Peggy Noonan. and:

    “You’ve got to be believed to be heard” by Bert Decker and:

    “Made to Stick”

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