Endearing, succinct, inspiring - three desirable qualities for a public speaker, and three qualities in abundance throughout this book... making it both an enjoyable read and, importantly, reassuring that the advice is sound.
This is not just a book full of nuggets, pearls of wisdom and anecdotes; it is also a training manual. It is full of exercises that range from saying the nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty whilst sticking your tongue out, to clenching your buttocks. I kid you not.
I honestly believe they are potent training aids for public speakers and I will be practicing them a lot.
If you want to improve your public speaking skills I sincerely recommend this book. Admittedly, I haven't been applying the advice for long, and it will take time for improvements to be noticed. But I feel upbeat about becoming a better public speaker thanks to Robin Kermode.
Covers All Aspects of Giving a Talk
From pre-stage nerves to planning a talk, Kermode goes into adequate detail about each aspect of a talk. It is clear that he has vast experience of public speaking and is a credible voice on this topic.
Much of this book is dedicated to the physical and physiological aspects of a talk. What do you do when your body starts nervously shaking? Where do you put your hands when you are up there on stage actually giving the talk? How do you handle your voice going weak?
This book is full of answers and strategies that help you tackle these problems. It also contains good advice for finding your best speaking style.
Actually preparing a talk is also covered in some detail. I particularly enjoyed the variety of ways to start a talk - from posing a question to starting with a fairy tale.
There was also advice to create a heading that you start and end a talk with. I feel really excited about putting these ideas into practice.
Convincing Writing Style
At first I was a bit skeptical of Kermode's "Zone 2". I tend to be wary of people - especially salesmen and consultants (which Kermode is). I kept my guard up for a long time.
After a while his judicious choice of anecdotes, verifiable training exercises, and conversational writing style won me over. At some point, I let my guard down and just felt confident that this guy knows exactly what he's talking about and is an expert on this topic.
I enjoyed reading this book. I felt I really learned a lot, and have a great opportunity to improve one of my weaknesses. I think the authors writing style is equally as good as the contents of this book, and that's why the book is so inspiring.