Where Leaders Come to Think

Confessions of a Public Speaker – Scott Berkun


Public speaking is one of those things that people fear the most. So they tell me. My first opportunity to speak to a large corporate crowd happened in 1998. Our firm had just created a new product and service offering. With only a small 6 month trial period, I stood in the basement of a large retail chain’s corporate headquarters. Stood there prepared to deliver a top-notch roll out to all the Executive level leaders and store Managers affiliated with the company.

There were only a few hundred in attendance, but it felt like thousands.

I was ready – I had a robust yet embarrassingly dull PowerPoint presentation and my notes safely on the podium in front of me. (That’s when tragedy dashed my hopes of a stellar presentation.) An executive who was not happy with the illumination of the projector ordered all house lights off. “Click” – no notes. I became only a voice behind the podium. A shadow of the presenter I had hoped to be. Lost – I knew that the show must go on. An it did – painfully so.

Many of my speaking blunders could have been avoided if Scott had written, Confessions of a Public Speaker a decade or so earlier. I blame him for that moment in 1998. However, I also must give him credit for writing one of the funniest, most complete books on the triumphs and tragedies of a life spent sharing ideas with others.

Confessions of a public speaker should be read by anyone who must someday walk the plank and stand in front of a crowd. Whether it’s just a few people or an auditorium filled with eyes, this book is a must read if you would like to avoid a lot of pain and learn to laugh at yourself.

Story after story the raw, exposed nature of his speaking life is easy to relate to. He’s a great writer and excellent speaker. He is also crazy in a stupid kind of way. That makes his book all the more real and relatable. Scott is the kind of writer that makes coffee taste even better. He holds nothing back in his encouragement for us all to speak and offers practical tips to overcome almost every kind of stage dilemma.

His book starts with a disclaimer. I feel its appropriate to my review.

Scott’s Disclaimer:

“This book is highly opinionated, personal, and full of behind-the-scenes stories. You may not like this. Some people like seeing how sausage is made, but many do not.

Although everything in this book is true and written to be useful, if you don’t alway want to hear the truth, this book might not be for you.

This book is written with faith in the idea that if we all spoke thoughtfully and listened carefully, the world would be a better place. ” – scott berkun, Confessions of a Public Speaker.

I can’t recommend this book enough. Thank you Scott.

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  1. Roger Boetger
    Roger Boetger03-06-2012

    What rule is though shalt know thy material ?

  2. Eddy

    We can all relate!!

  3. cinhosa


    The book sounds interesting and speaking of books, I shared 3 of my favorite books of faith:

    You are one of the three bloggers whom I would like to know three of your favorites.

    Feel free to participate and ask three others to share theirs. I enjoy learning the books that impact people and I think you would have interesting ones to share.

    Maybe you and I should start a ‘favorite leadership’ books meme?

    • Mark Mathia
      Mark Mathia02-28-2012

      Thanks bud I am on it! I really like the idea and now I have figured out what a meme is. OK I posted 3 of my favorites on your comment section but I will also keep things going with a blog post. Count me in on the leadership books meme. Brilliant.

      Your a great writer cinhosa I appreciate hanging out with you on the blogosphere.

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