This site is dedicated to finding the best public speaking book. Read the reviews below to help decide which book is best for you.

General Public Speaking Books

Public Speaking, Success in 20 Minutes a Day★★½☆☆
The Art of Public Speaking, 9th Edition by Stephen E. Lucas★★☆☆☆
The Confident Speaker by Harrison Monarth and Larina Kase★★★★½
10 Days to More Confident Public Speaking by Lenny Laskowski★★★½☆
In the Spotlight by Janet Esposito★★★★★
The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking by Dale Carnegie★★★★★

Business Public Speaking Books

Presenting to Win by Jerry Weissman★★★★☆
Present Like a Pro by Cyndi Maxey and Kevin O’Connor★★★★½

You can find a great public speaking book on Amazon's best seller list.

March 9th, 2015 , Authors:


Wedding Speeches: Perfect Words for a Perfect Day is a great resource for finding quotes, poems, and letters about love to bolster any wedding speech (or even to use as readings during a ceremony).

The book is divided into two sections. The first section is about 25% of the book and includes a lot of the content typically found in these types of books: bullet points on who is responsible to say what, advice on how to write your speech, and tips on delivery (don’t drink, breathe, make eye contact, smile). The remaining 75% of the book includes a collection of source material.

Overall Rating:  ★★☆☆☆

Book Organization

Section 1

1. Roles and Responsibilities

2. Pen to Paper

3. Using Source Material

4. The Perfect Delivery

5. The End of the Beginning

Section 2

6. Short and Sweet

7. Romantic: love poems

8. Quirky

9. The Classics

10. Advice

11. Philosophical

12. Religious

13. Famous Love Letters

14. Sample Speeches and Snippets

Quotes From the Book

“It’s fine to spend hours editing a speech on your computer, but preparation that really counts is vocal rehearsal. Quite simply that means practicing your speech out loud, whether it’s in front of a small group of friends, alone or even with a pet! This is the only way to gain the requisite familiarity with the material.”

Speech Preparation  ½☆☆☆☆

Overall Rating:  ★★☆☆☆

If you’re looking for a good quote to use in your wedding toast, or a unique reading to use during your ceremony, check out this author’s collection of source material.

February 27th, 2015 , Authors:

The pocket-sized manual, Wedding Words: Toasts, is a good introduction to wedding toasts. This book is about 40% source material (quotes and poems), and 60% discussion of typical speech outlines, tips for writing and delivering your speech, and other tidbits of etiquette and background of wedding toasts.

Overall Rating:  ★★☆☆☆

Book Organization

One: Elements of a Toast

Two: The Main Event: Reception Toasts

Three: More Celebrations: Toasts for Other Times

Four: Writing a Toast

Five: Delivering a Toast

Six: Toast Etiquette

Seven: Words to Inspire

Quotes From the Book

“The best toasts are the ones where all the advance preparation makes the end result seem breezy and unrehearsed. Even if you are very talented at speaking off the cuff, nerves might kick in during your actual delivery, leaving you with your mouth open and guests wondering when to take a sip of champagne.”

“DON’T apologize at the beginning of your toast for your ineptitude in public speaking. This just starts your toast out on the wrong foot.”

Speech Preparation  ★☆☆☆☆

As is common with these types of books, only a handful of pages are dedicated to preparation and presentation. Most of the book is focused on etiquette, quotes, and special scenarios.

Overall Rating:  ★★☆☆☆

Wedding Words: Toasts is compact, so it’s an easy book to carry around and skim while you’re waiting for your latte. It includes some suggestions on the outline of a typical toast. So, if you need a head start with your outline, it’s a good reference.

Pick up this convenient book today!

February 24th, 2015 , Authors: ,

Fluffy and fun, the book How to Write Wedding Speeches & Toasts, is accessible and a quick-read. It includes tips for almost anyone in the wedding party making a speech: best man, bridesmaid, bride and groom replies, father of the bride.

Overall Rating:  ★★★½☆

Book Organization

Chapter 1: Speechmaking

Chapter 2: Researching and Writing your Speech

Chapter 3: Using Quotations and Toasts

Chapter 4: Jokes and Anecdotes

Chapter 5: Rehearsing your Speech

Chapter 6: Delivery

Chapter 7: Specimen Traditional Speeches

Chapter 8: Specimen Unconventional Speeches

Quotes From the Book

“Remember you are writing for speaking, not writing for reading…Use short sentences. If you don’t, you’ll very likely find yourself gasping for breath when you deliver your speech.”

“Before you rise to make your speech, check where anyone to whom you’ll be referring is seated - so you can look in their direction in the appropriate moment. Know where your handkerchief is - in case you need it - and make sure your water tumbler and wine glass are to hand, but not in danger of being knocked over.”

Speech Preparation  ★★☆☆☆

This book is informative on a lot of topics, but the chapters on rehearsing and delivering speeches are brief. This is more of a reference guide on what to say, rather than an instructional book on how to say it. Four of the chapters are quotes, jokes, and example speeches.

Overall Rating:  ★★★½☆

This would be a great book to use if you’re looking for quotes, or searching for the right words for a less traditional scenario like a second marriage.

Get some tips on giving a wedding toast!

February 23rd, 2015 , Authors: ,

True to the title, Public Speaking, Success in 20 Minutes a Day breaks up public speaking fundamentals into 20 quick lessons. Each lesson includes a discussion of the topic in easy-to-understand language, a few exercises to emphasize the main points, and a conclusion outlining the key tips of the lesson.

Overall Rating:  ★★★★☆

Book Organization

Lesson 1: Preparing to Speak Publicly

Lesson 2: Good Speaking Requires Good Listening

Lesson 3: Organizing and Spicing Up Your Speech

Lesson 4: Doing Your Homework

Lesson 5: The Major Types of Speeches

Lesson 6: Preparing an Outline

Lesson 7: Body Building

Lesson 8: End with a Bang

Lesson 9: Start with a Bang

Lesson 10: Don’t Lose Your Place

Lesson 11: Speaking Responsibly

Lesson 12: Empowering Your Speech

Lesson 13: In the Eye of the Beholder

Lesson 14: Seeing Is Believing

Lesson 15: Avoiding Distractions

Lesson 16: Overcoming Anxiety

Lesson 17: Practice, Practice, Practice!

Lesson 18: What Comes Next?

Lesson 19: Common Speech Situations

Lesson 20: Learning from the Pros

Quotes From the Book

“No matter what type of speech you make, regardless of the occasion, and no matter how you deliver it — you will want to start with an outline! The outline is the skeleton on which you will build a living speech, and it will determine exactly what the speech will look like and what it will accomplish.”

“You should have your speech completely prepared at least 24 hours before you deliver it. This will give you a full day of freedom from preparation, allowing you to turn your mind and body to other activities, which will recharge your emotional batteries.”

Overall Rating  ★★★★☆

This is another great book for the novice presenter. With tips on how to construct your speech and practice, how to dress for the presentation, and how to create visual aids, it brushes through a wide array of topics. It’s an excellent introduction to public speaking but may not provide in-depth discussion for a more seasoned presenter. This book would be excellent for students or professionals.

Learn the basics of public speaking in 20 minutes a day!

February 21st, 2015 , Authors:

Be forewarned: The Art of Public Speaking, 9th Edition is a college-level textbook, not meant for the casual reader. At over 500 pages, it covers a wide variety of topics that may or may not be relevant to the reader.

Overall Rating:  ★★☆☆☆

Book Organization

Part One: Speaking and Listening

Part Two: Speech Preparation: Getting Started

Part Three: Speech Preparation: Organizing and Outlining

Part Four: Presenting the Speech

Part Five: Varieties of Public Speaking

Textbook Learning

The difference between learning about public speaking from a textbook versus many of the other books reviewed on this site can be positive or negative.

On the positive side, this book has been published since 1983. The author has been able to incorporate feedback from focus groups, researchers, professors and students for over 25 years! The basics of public speaking have been long-established, and the author has added content to address changes in technology and include more recent examples (such as the discussion of Barack Obama’s keynote address in the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Chapter 5).  As this book is meant to be used in an academic setting, every chapter includes exercises for critical thinking.

On the negative side, public speaking is not a science. There is no definite formula to be a successful speaker, and in my opinion, this book draws out the content over more pages than is necessary. A textbook is meant to appeal to a wide audience.  There is a lot of information in a textbook that you may never need.

The primary drawback for me is that this book is written in an instructional tone and doesn’t flow. I don’t connect with the author, and I don’t want to keep reading.

Buy The Art of Public Speaking today!

November 22nd, 2009 , Authors: ,

The book The Confident Speaker offers sound advice for a nervous speaker. Whether the anxiety is caused by a presentation to a large group, or speaking up in a small meeting, the book provides the tools to relax, prepare, and deliver effective communication.

Overall Rating:  ★★★★½

Book Organization

Part One: Identifying the Fears

Part Two: Preparing to Beat Your Anxiety

Part Three: Toolbox for the Nervous Speaker

Part Four: Using the Tools in the Real World

Quotes From the Book

“The key to successful speaking is to focus on your number one task: connecting with your audience. Silly tricks like [picturing the audience in their underwear] that are intended to decrease anxiety actually spike distress because they prevent connecting with your audience.”

Overcoming Fear  ★★★★★

The Confident Speaker offers tips on how to modify thoughts and behavior to avoid anxiety. The authors suggest writing and speaking exercises to prompt examination of the root causes of anxiety.

I found the authors’ discussion of impromptu speaking particularly interesting. They suggest taking every opportunity to speak up, and then not evaluating yourself right away. Just practice!

Prepared Speeches  ★★★★½

The Confident Speaker gives the reader tips to conquer anxiety related to prepared speeches. The authors stress the importance of connecting with the audience and provide questions to consider when defining the objective and organizing the structure of a speech. Also, the book provides tips on being perceived as likable, confident, and credible.

Other

Some other interesting points discussed in the book include an examination of male and female speaking styles, and using free writing to improve your ability to think on your feet.

Overall Rating  ★★★★½

This book focuses on the fundamentals. It is not intended for seasoned presenters. This is a great book for students or people who don’t typically speak in public but want to gain experience and (as the title promises) confidence.

Learn how to conquer anxiety today!

April 20th, 2009 , Authors:

The book 10 Days to More Confident Public Speaking is a good overall book on public speaking.

Overall Rating:  ★★★½☆

Book Organization

Day 1: Getting Started: Overcoming Your Fears
Day 2: Create a Great Presentation
Day 3: Relating to your Audience
Day 4: Remembering What you Have to Say
Day 5: Say it With Style: Body Language and Voice
Day 6: Language and Ethics
Day 7: Expect the Unexpected
Day 8: Special Techniques
Day 9: Behind the Scenes: Building Confidence
Day 10: Ending Your Speech with a Bang

Quotes From the Book

“Top company executives polled said that the one essential skill they look for in an employee slated for promotion is the ability to effectively communicate ideas.”
“Public speaking improves every area of your life”

Practical Tips  ★★★★★

The book includes a section called “Quick Tips You Can Use in Everyday Speaking Situations”.  This covers scenarios such as running into someone at the store, parties, etc.  These tips are great because they go beyond just standard public speaking situations and help with more causal but equally difficult situations.

Speech Preparation  ★★★★☆

Process of speech preparation - ideas and structure - mostly good ideas.  I feel that it’s mostly general stuff.  Most 5 - 7 minute speeches actually don’t require that much research.

Tip: “use examples your audience can relate to” - if presenting about a medical advancement, give a brief story about a patient who benefited from it.

He does a nice job descrbing different types of audiences : Prisoners, vacationers, graduates, and students.

Overall Rating  ★★★½☆

Overall, this would be a good handy reference book to revisit over time.  It’s presumptuous to assume that it only takes 10 days to go from overcoming anxiety to becoming an excellent speaker.
It’s a process that takes a long time, and I would hope that beginning speakers don’t become demoralized if they haven’t overcome their fear in just a few days.

There is a lot of useful content in the book that I found helpful for relating to audiences.

See what other reviewers had to say at Amazon.

November 8th, 2008 , Authors:

The book In The SpotLight, Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking and Performing by Janet Esposito is a top-notch book for beginners looking to overcome their fear of public speaking.

The reader is guided through a process to identify the source of the fear and then successfully manage that fear.

Overall Rating:  ★★★★★

Book Organization

Chapter 1: Coming out of the closet

Chapter 2: You are not alone

Chapter 3: Kindred souls

Chapter 4: No guts, no glory

Chapter 5: Fearing the fear itself

Chapter 6: It’s not about me

Chapter 7: Creating beliefs and self-talk that support us

Chapter 8: Creating a calm and resourceful body and mind

Chapter 9: Getting to the source

Chapter 10: Overcoming self-consciousness and inhibition

Chapter 11: Creating new possibilities

Public Speaking Basics  ★★★★★

In The SpotLight is a great book to help new speakers, especially those that have some trepidation about talking in front of a group.  This can be an excellent first book on public speaking.

Overcoming Fear  ★★★★★

The tips provided for overcoming fear are excellent.  Although some nervousness is expected with public speaking, there can always be some times when additional fear creeps in.

Esposito helps identify the source of fear and then overcome it.  It’s always encouraging to read about how other people face the same fear and that the audience actually wants you to succeed.

Advanced Public Speaking  ★★★☆☆

Everyone, no matter how advanced of a speaker they are, faces some fear and nervousness.  There is advice in this book for advanced speakers to keep in mind, but overall the book is more focused on beginning speakers.

Overall Rating  ★★★★★

For anyone that has fear of public speaking, this book has something for you.  It has been proven to help beginners overcome their fear and it can work for you too.

Order In The SpotLight, Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking and Performing today!

November 7th, 2008 , Authors:

Presenting to Win: The Art of Telling Your Story by Jerry Weissman is an international best-selling book on advanced public speaking skills.  It is packed full of ways that you can improve your public speaking skills.

The book has a business focus and is guaranteed to help anyone who has to regularly present to a business audience.

Overall Rating  ★★★★☆

Book Organization

Chapter 1: You and your audience

Chapter 2: The power of WIIFY

Chapter 3: Getting creative: The expansive art of brainstorming

Chapter 4: Finding your flow

Chapter 5: Capturing your audience immediately

Chapter 6: Communicating visually

Chapter 7: Making the text talk

Chapter 8: Making the numbers sing

Chapter 9: Using graphics to help your story flow

Chapter 10: Bringing your story to life

Chapter 11: Customizing your presentation

Chapter 12: Pitching in the majors

Chapter 13: Animating your graphics

Chapter 14: The virtual presentation

Public Speaking Basics  ★★★☆☆

This book does cover some of the basics, but it’s target audience is more experienced speakers.

Speech Preparation  ★★★★★

Presenting to Win has several tips to tailoring your speech to your audience to maximize your effect.  Jerry Weissman ephasizes the term “WIIFY,” which stands for “What’s in it for you?”  This is the most important thing to keep in mind when developing a presentation.  If there isn’t something valuable in your speech for your audidence, then you will never be able to hold their attention.

PowerPoint Slides  ★★★★☆

There are several chapters on developing appropriate graphics for presentations.  The author goes into great detail and even makes suggestions for how to improve graph labels, titles, and bullet lists.

Overall Rating  ★★★★☆

This is an excellent book for helping seasoned presenters hone their presentation skills.  Everyone can use help with graphics and tailoring their speech to their audience.

Pick up a copy today to get started.

November 4th, 2008 , Authors: ,

Present Like a Pro by Cyndi Maxey and Kevin O’Connor is a contemporary book on public speaking that helps speakers overcome the difficult challenges faced by presenters in the business world.

After reading this book, you’ll be able to make a greater impact and better connect with your audience.

Overall Rating  ★★★★½

Book Organization

Part 1: Love the Language

Part 2: Prepare Like Crazy

Part 3: Respect the Client

Part 4: Break the Rules

Part 5: Create a Connection

Part 6: Adapt to the Moment

Part 7: Propel the Image

Part 8: Master Interaction

Part 9: Follow Up for More

Part 10: Never Give Up

Fundamentals of Public Speaking  ★★☆☆☆

This book mostly glances over the fundamentals of public speaking.  There is good coverage of topics such as eye contact and speech organization, but there is not much time spent on gestures and overcoming fear.

Topic Focus  ★★★★★

This book is highly focused towards improving the public speaking skills of the business professional. Present Like a Pro skips basic speaking fundamentals and instead delves deeply into topics such as mastering audience interaction and how to properly use a microphone.

For speakers that have presented in public before and want to take their skills the next level, this book can help.

Overall Rating  ★★★★½

This is one of the better books on business presenting out there.  It doesn’t waste time on beginning topics and goes deep into the core of subjects such as relating to the client and projecting the right image.

If you have a need to present better to your boss or prospective clients, pick up this book today!

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