Although it sounds like an oxymoron I do have the feeling that books about this topic can help you become a better public speaker, or in a matter of fact more skillful in driving home your message.

After our talk at VMworld a lot of friends complimented not only on the talk itself but also on the improvements I’ve made when it comes to public speaking. My first public speaking engagement was VMworld 2010 at Vegas, 8 o’clock Monday morning for 1200 people. Talk about a challenge! Since then I have been slowly improving my skills. Last year I’ve done more talks than the previous 3 years before combined. Although Malcolm Gladwell’s 10.000 –hour rule is heavily debated nowadays, I do believe that practice is by far the best way to improve your skill. By itself getting 10.000 hours of public speaking time is rather a challenge and just going through the motions alone will be very inefficient. To maximize efficiency I started to dive into the theory behind public speaking or even more broadly theory about communicating. Over the year I read a decent stack of books but these four stood out the most.

1: Confessions of a public speaker by Scott Berkun
Funny and highly practical. If you want to buy only one book, this one should be it. The book helps you with the act of public speaking; How to deal with stage fright, how to work a tough room, what are the things I need to take care of to make my talk go smoothly.

2: Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath
This book helps you structure the message you public-speaking-books
want to convey. It helps you to dive into the core of your message and communicate them in a memorable way. It’s a great book to read, lots of interesting stories and it’s one of those books that you should read multiple times to keep on refining your skillset.

3: Talk like Ted by Carmine Gallo
To some extent a combination of the two first books. The interesting part is the focus on the listener experience and its capability to focus for 18 minutes. In addition, it gives you insights into some of the greatest TED talks.

4 Pitch Perfect by Bill and Alisa Bowman
This book helps you to enhance your communication skills. It dives deeper into the act’s verbal and non-verbal language. It helps you to become cognizant of some of the mistakes everyone makes, yet can be avoided quite easily. The book helps you to drive your point in a more confident, persuasive, and certain manner.

The beauty of these books is that you can use them, learn from them even if you are not a public speaker. In everyday life we all need to communicate, we all want our idea to be heard and possibly get a buy-in from others. I believe these books will help you achieve this. If you have found other books useful and interesting please leave a comment.