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.
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.”
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!
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.
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.
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.